French shipbuilder Socarenam has delivered all three vessels that belong to a new series of coastal patrol and surveillance boats slated for the Maritime Gendarmerie, the maritime arm of the country’s National Gendarmerie police force.
Designed by naval architect Pierre Delion, the newbuilds have been given the official designation of Next Generation Coastal Maritime Surveillance Boats (Vedettes Cotieres de Surveillance Maritime Nouvelle Generation; VCSM NG). Each of the vessels has an aluminium hull, a length of 23 metres, a beam of seven metres, a draught of 1.6 metres, and a displacement of 80 tonnes at full load. There is also space for eight crewmembers and eight additional personnel as well as two weapons mounts that can be fitted with 7.62mm manually operated light machine guns.
The VCSM NGs are each powered by two MAN 1,416kW diesel engines that drive conventional propellers to deliver a top speed of 32 knots while more economical cruising speeds will yield a range of 300 nautical miles. The wheelhouse on each boat is fitted with anti-ballistic panels to provide some protection against small arms fire. The wheelhouse layout is designed to help minimise the disturbance caused by outside while the liveaboard accommodations provide enhanced comfort even during extended periods away from port.
Fixed advanced optronic systems enable the vessels’ crews to effectively conduct surveillance missions day or night. The other onboard electronics includes a Furuno radar. The stern of each VCSM NG has a ramp for the launch and recovery of a small fast inflatable boat to assist in at-sea boardings and interception.
The three boats are named Maroni, Oyapock, and Aber Ildut. They will be operated out of the Maritime Gendarmerie’s coastal stations at Cherbourg, Dunkirk, and Boulogne-sur-Mer, respectively.
The VCSM NGs will replace Athos and Aramis, two coastal patrol vessels that have been in service with the Maritime Gendarmerie for over 30 years. The newer boats’ missions will include maritime border security, surveillance, counter-narcotics patrols, counter-terrorism patrols, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and pollution response. As fisheries enforcement is also included in the VCSM NGs’ primary missions, construction of the vessels was partly funded by the European Union.
|Maroni, Oyapock & Aber Ildut|
|Type of vessel:||Coastal patrol vessels|
|Owner:||National Gendarmerie, France|
|Operator:||Maritime Gendarmerie, France|
|Designer:||Pierre Delion, France|
|Hull construction material:||Aluminium|
|Length overall:||23 metres|
|Main engines:||2 x MAN, each 1,416 kW|
|Propulsion:||2 x propellers|
|Maximum speed:||32 knots|
|Range:||300 nautical miles|
|Armaments:||2 x 7.62mm machine guns|
|Type of fuel:||Diesel|
|Operational area:||Cherbourg, Dunkirk, and Boulogne-sur-Mer, France|
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