Surface Forces: River Class Patrol Ships


September 14, 2013: Thailand recently put its first River class OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel) into service. Thailand was very pleased with the trials of this ship and plans to build five more. This is a British design that Thailand built locally under license. These OPVs are from British shipbuilder BAE and are based on the River Class ships used by Britain (which has four that entered service between 2002-6). There is also a slightly smaller 80 meter long version that has an endurance of 21 days.

These corvette size ships will be used to patrol coastal waters and to protect fishing grounds and offshore oil fields. These are 90.5 meter (281 foot) long ships displacing 2,500 tons. They carry a crew of 36 (with accommodations for up to 70) and are armed with 1 30mm remotely controlled autocannon or a 76mm gun plus 2 smaller 25mm or 30mm autocannon (one on each side). Buyers can equip these ships with a wide variety of sensors and electronics and install all sorts of options. There is a landing deck in the rear for a helicopter (of up to 7 tons) or six 20 foot cargo containers (containing supplies or equipment). Top speed is 45 kilometers an hour and cruising speed is 12 kilometers an hour. Endurance is about 5 weeks. 2 speedboats are usually carried, along with a 16 ton crane. The ship can be rigged to carry 50 infantry.

Brazil bought 3 of these OPVs from Britain, with the option to build 5 more in Brazil.



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