The Cyprus Navy commissioned its first offshore patrol vessel (OPV), Commodore Andreas Ioannides (P61), into service during a ceremony held at Evangelos Florakis Naval Base in Mari on 15 January.
Commodore Andreas Ioannides was built by Israel Shipyards Ltd in Haifa Bay, Israel, under a EUR44 million contract signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the State of Israel in December 2015. The contract includes an option for an additional vessel.
Based on the Israeli Hetz (Saar 4.5)-class fast attack missile craft, the OPV displaces 430 tons and has a top speed of 32 kt. It can carry a crew complement of 30 in addition to a special forces unit.
The vessel features two Rafael Typhoon 23 mm stabilised weapon stations integrated with a pair of Rafael TopLite electro-optical systems. It is equipped with an advanced radar and modern navigation, command and control and satellite communications systems, and can carry two rigid inflatable boats.
Commodore Andreas Ioannides has reportedly been fitted for future arming with the Rafael Typhoon MLS-NLOS medium-range naval missile system configured with eight Spike-NLOS missile launchers. Once armed, it will be first missile boat to serve with the maritime forces of Cyprus.
The OPV will significantly improve the Cyprus Navy’s capacity to protect the island nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), where the discovery of natural gas has prompted Turkey to dispute some of those waters.
In addition to the latest naval acquisition, on 14 February 2017 Cyprus commissioned into service its first open sea vessel from the Omani navy.
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