VESSEL REVIEW | P71 – Large patrol vessel for Malta’s armed forces

VESSEL REVIEW | P71 – Large patrol vessel for Malta’s armed forces

Photo: Cantiere Navale Vittoria

Italian shipbuilder Cantiere Navale Vittoria has handed over a new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) to the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta.

P71 will be the Armed Forces of Malta’s newest flagship. Its missions will include coastal and offshore surveillance and search and rescue (SAR) in the central Mediterranean Sea.

With a full load displacement of over 2,000 tonnes, a length of 74.8 metres, a beam of 13 metres, and a draught of 3.8 metres, the OPV can accommodate a crew of nearly 50 plus an additional 20 personnel. The elevated bridge offers 360-degree visibility and is equipped with ballistic protection according to STANAG 4569 level 2.

Located aft are a helicopter deck with hangar and a launch and recovery ramp for a 9.1-metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB). The starboard amidships section has a davit for the launch and recovery of a second 9.1-metre RIB. The davit also has motion compensation features to allow the RIB to be deployed or recovered even when the OPV is underway. The RIBs are capable of a maximum speed of more than 40 knots and will be used for SAR and sea traffic control operations.

The OPV is powered by two 5,440kW diesel engines that drive controllable-pitch propellers to deliver a maximum speed of over 20 knots. Patrols at lower speeds of between nine and 12 knots can be accomplished with the aid of two electric motors powered by three 750kW generators.

The propulsion arrangement also includes two transverse thrusters, one forward and one aft. Retractable active stabilising fins meanwhile guarantee improved stability and seaworthiness.

Armament includes a remotely operated 25mm autocannon and light machine guns. The integrated command, control, and navigation system consists of a 2D surveillance radar and satellite communications.

A small service crane is also fitted and used for loading and unloading of other light cargo.

The €48.5 million (US$58.5 million) vessel was co-financed by the EU as part of the 2014-2020 Internal Security Fund (ISF), which was established to implement internal security strategy, cooperation related to law enforcement, and management of the external borders of European countries.

Construction of P71 was done in compliance to American Bureau of Shipping class rules. The OPV will soon replace a 2005-built vessel in performing the maritime security role.

Type of vessel:Offshore patrol vessel
Classification:American Bureau of Shipping
Owner:Armed Forces of Malta
Builder:Cantiere Navale Vittoria, Italy
Length overall:74.8 metres
Beam:13 metres
Draught:3.8 metres
Displacement:2,000 tonnes
Main engines:2 x 5,440 kW
Propulsion:2 x controllable-pitch propellers
Generators:3 x 750 kW
Side thrusters:2
Maximum speed:20 knots
Cruising speed:12 knots
Armaments:25mm autocannon; machine guns
Other equipment installed:Active stabilising fins
Type of fuel:Diesel
Operational area:Mediterranean Sea

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