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Portugal to modernise OPVs

The first of the Portuguese Navy's two Viana do Castelo-class offshore patrol vessels, NRP Viana do Castelo , was commissioned into service on 30 December 2010. (Victor Manuel Saraiva Barreira)

The Portuguese Navy is to progressively upgrade its Viana do Castelo-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), service representatives told Janes.

The four OPVs – NRP Viana do Castelo (P360), NRP Figueira da Foz (P361), NRP Sines (P362), and NRP Setúbal (P363) – will be upgraded throughout their maintenance cycles.

The programme intends to remove logistical, functional, and operational obsolescence; add capabilities required for future operations; and enable the integration of modular systems for mission support, self-protection, surveillance, and anti-submarine warfare (ASW), the representatives said.

Separate to the new upgrade programme, Sines and Setúbal are scheduled to receive the Marlin WS remote-controlled weapon turret (which already equips Viana do Castelo and Figueira da Foz) and Medusa MK4/B electro-optical fire-control system in 2025, the representatives said.

The Viana do Castelo class is being gradually upgraded to enable the operation of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that will provide an intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability. The navy has acquired the Spyro 4N and Ogassa OGS42V UAVs from UAVision, and the Hexa Exterior Intelligent Flying Unit (HEIFU) and VTOne UAVs from Beyond Vision.

Sines has dedicated facilities on its bridge for the operation of UAVs, while Viana do Castelo has been equipped with a portable control station. Setúbal is soon to receive a UAV control capability.

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