As offshore patrol vessels become more popular with navies around the world, they are adding operational value to lower-end tasks. Dr Lee Willett reports
The offshore patrol vessel (OPV) provides an interesting case study of how navies around the world are attempting to balance the numerous and wide-ranging requirements of contemporary operations against the twin challenges of reduced force numbers and constrained budgets.
Since the turn of the century, maritime security has emerged increasingly into political and public consciousness as a primary naval task. This has been largely due to the international focus on countering piracy and other malign influences at sea, although issues, such as energy security and protecting territorial waters and exclusive economic zones (EEZs), have come to be seen as core national interests that navies must protect.