Surface Forces: Dutch Coast Guard Has Global Reach


August 25, 2015: Netherlands recently sent one of its four new seagoing OPVs (offshore patrol vessels) to join the anti-piracy patrol off Somalia. It might seem odd to send a large coast guard vessel so far to patrol the Somali coast. But these new “Holland” class OPVs were designed for tasks like moving halfway around the world to help out with a peacekeeping operation. 

It was back in 2007 that the Netherlands ordered four corvette sized warships for offshore patrol. These 3,700 ton, 108 meter (351 foot) long ships are large for "coast guard" operations but that's because the Dutch wanted vessels they could send distant locations for peacekeeping if needed. Endurance (with onboard supplies) is 21 days and includes fuel to move 9,300 kilometers at 28 kilometers an hour. These OPVs are armed with one 76mm gun, one 30mm autocannon, two 12.7mm and six 7.62mm machine-guns. There are three work boats aboard, one fast rescue boat and two smaller fast special operations boats. There is a hanger and flight deck for a helicopter in the rear and one NH90 helicopter is carried. The ship is run by a crew of 54 although there is berthing for an additional 40 people (special operations, relief experts, technical or whatever). Top speed is 39 kilometers an hour. Each OPV cost $170 million. The lower cost (than most warships of that size) is due to the relative lack of weapons and high end electronics. These ships entered service over in 2012 and 2013.



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