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French DGA orders first seven OPVs for French Navy

Graphic depiction of the French Navy's new offshore patrol vessel. (Naval Group)

The French defence procurement agency, Directorate General of Armament (DGA), has ordered seven new multi-purpose offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the French Navy.

Announcing the milestone on 23 November the DGA said the acquisition covered three contracts totalling EUR900 million (USD985.03 million), which were signed on 17 November.

Under the contract awards, the ships will be built by a temporary shipbuilding consortium comprising Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN), Piriou, and Socarenam; Naval Group will be responsible for project management and the development and supply of the combat management system; and Thales will supply and integrate the maritime surveillance sensor suite.

Under current planning, the first new OPV is planned to be delivered in 2026.

“The first stage of the offshore patrol vessel programme, based on the acquisition of seven vessels, will fill a gap in the second-tier vessel segment, taking into account the decommissioning of offshore patrol vessels that have already taken place, and will initiate the ramp-up of these vessels on each of the three metropolitan coasts – Brest, Toulon, and Cherbourg,” the DGA said.

The OPV programme was launched in 2020 with a framework agreement signed by the DGA with Naval Group outlining plans for the various phases of the project, including initial studies, development, build, and support. Design contracts were awarded to Naval Group in October 2021, and the shipbuilder completed the detailed design in October 2023.

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