Portuguese Navy NRP Viana do Castelo offshore patrol vessel
Portuguese Navy NRP Viana do Castelo offshore patrol vessel

Portuguese Navy to Acquire Six More Offshore Patrol Vessels

The Portuguese government has approved plans to acquire six new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) of Viana do Castelo-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) as part of the Portuguese Navy (Marinha Portuguesa) Intersectoral Program for the Renewal of the Fleet (PIRE). These will be Viana do Castelo class vessels, of which four are already in service. The first unit is scheduled to enter service in 2023, with the final ship to be introduced in 2029. The vessels will be tasked with several “coast guard” type missions with other national and European authorities.

The Viana do Castelo class is a class of offshore patrol vessels planned by and for the Portuguese Navy, as a result of the NPO2000 Project (Navios de Patrulha Oceânica, for Oceanic Patrol Vessels), that are being constructed in the Estaleiros Navais de Viana do Castelo (ENVC). The eight to ten vessels of this class, specially designed to operate in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Two of these vessels of the version Navios de Combate à Poluição (NCP) will be fitted with anti-pollution systems — including Fast Oil Recovery systems.

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Portuguese Navy NRP Viana do Castelo offshore patrol vessel
Portuguese Navy NRP Viana do Castelo offshore patrol vessel

The new OPVs will be based on the same design of the earlier vessels in the class but with a number of modifications. Most notably, they will incorporate multifunction features to increase utility in areas such as mine warfare, underwater surveillance, force projection, pollution combat, and law enforcement. With the six new OPVs, Portugal will complete the replacement of João Coutinho-class and Baptista de Andrade-class corvettes. The vessels will be equipped to carry out operations with helicopters and unmanned systems.

Armament consists of a 30 mm Oto Melara Marlin, it replaces one 40 mm L/60 turreted gun in the NRP Viana do Castelo, and two manned mounts to be armed with 7.62 mm light machine guns or two 12.7mm M2 Browning as well as two launching systems for MK55 Mod 2 mines. The ships are designed to operate unmanned systems and are equipped with a single Sagem SA Vigy 10 MKIII naval surveillance and observation platform, three water cannons, and two rigid inflatable boats. Each ship is capable of accommodating a Super Lynx MK95 light helicopter.

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