AT THIS YEAR’S OPVS & CORVETTES ASIA PACIFIC IN SINGAPORE, DAMEN GAVE A PREVIEW OF ITS SECOND GENERATION OFFSHORE PATROL VESSEL (OPV). THE VESSEL IS DESIGNED FOR THE INCREASINGLY DIVERSE TASKS UNDERTAKEN BY NAVAL FORCES AND OFFERS ENHANCED PERFORMANCE, VERSATILITY AND REDUCED TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP. THE OPV 2 IS AVAILABLE IN 75 METRE (1,400 TONNES), 85 METRE (1,800 TONNES), 95 METRE (2,400 TONNES) AND 103 METRE (2,600 TONNES) VERSIONS.
At heart of the vessel’s versatility sits the Multi-Mission bay. This presents the opportunity to store different types of containerized mission modules, for example, packages for humanitarian assistance & disaster relief, counter-piracy, search and rescue, mine countermeasures and oil spill recovery. The containers can be transferred to and from the bay via hatches in the helicopter deck.
The vessel’s Multi-Mission Hangar is designed to accommodate a helicopter weighing up to 11 tonnes, such as the NH-90. There is additional space to store an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), such as a Boeing Scan Eagle. The hangar has been configured so either one of the aircraft can be used without moving the other. There is additional space in the hangar for a spare parts store and workshop, so that work can be carried out on the aircraft whilst the vessel is underway.
Launch and recovery in Sea State 5
From a slipway in the Multi-Mission Bay, one of the vessel’s two 9 metre RHIBs can be launched and recovered via a quick connection hook. The system is proven, having been tested on the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Holland Class Ocean Patrol Vessels up to Sea State 5.
A further feature of the OPV 2 is that the command and control centre (C2) has been located next to the bridge, rather than in its traditional, defensive location below the waterline. As Damen Design and Proposal Manager Piet van Rooij explains: “Today, OPVs don’t engage in combat situations as often as frigates do, however, fast and effective coordination during a chase is essential for an OPV.”
Being close to the bridge ensures this, providing the crew with greater situation awareness – something which can be extremely useful in the type of operations for which the OPV 2 will be used, for example, counter-piracy. When required, the C2 centre can be separated from the bridge by means of a sliding window.
The OPV 2 will possess exceptional sea keeping characteristics, thanks to her Damen SEA AXE Bow. The SEA AXE ensures exceptionally low level heave acceleration, for increased comfort in stormy seas. As a result of the associated reduction in water resistance, the OPV 2 will consume markedly less fuel, whilst being able to reach speeds of up to 26 knots.