Thursday, August 13, 2015

Who's Down for OPV?

Always good to have another post about Colombia. Not my usual Colombian post, but more nautical.

There is a niche between our PC and our LCS that simply does not get as much respect as it should. Shame, a great platform with a lot of utility, and even better - a great LT/LCDR Command. Not sure it fits USN requirements, but good people can argue both sides, and in any event - shouldn't stop us from looking at them in detail.

First, I don't like the programmatic speak of "OPV." I would prefer the archaic word to be used for the modern day Sloop-of-War, but for now, the Offshore Patrol Vessel it is. Let's look at one example.

What can it do? Get your globe out.
On Saturday 8th August 2015, Colombian warship, ARC 7 de Agosto, arrived in the Gulf of Aden to start her counter-piracy operations in close collaboration with Operation Atalanta.
The Colombian warship will work together with the EU Naval Force in escorting and protecting World Food Programme (WFP) vessels and vulnerable shipping along the Somali coastline and also help to deter and disrupt any acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the EU Navfor said. 
7 de Agosto sailed from Cartagena on 27 June and will deploy for five-months. ARC 7 de Agusto is the second of Colombia’s three 1 723 ton OPV-80 designs built in Colombia by COTECMAR in Cartagena. The vessels has a crew of 85 and is armed with a 40 mm Oto Melara 40L70 twin gun, a 20 mm Oerlikon GAM-BO1 gun, and two Thor T-12 Remote Controlled Weapons Stations (RCWS). The T-12 RCWS includes a .50-calibre M2HB machine gun linked to a Controp SHAPO maritime day/night observation system.
For interdiction the vessels is equipped with two boats and a medium sized Bell helicopter.
That is a Fassmer OPV-80 Class warship. A solid German design used by the Colombian, Argentinian, and Chilean navies. 

Another German builder, L├╝rssen, has some nice designs as well. There whole catalog is full of goodness. More details on the OPV-80 here, and Chuck has done some good work on the class too if you have not read it.

Cost? You don't want the cost, do you? Well ... numbers are all over place, but the most reported I see is $54 million as constructed in S. America. 

Nice looking ship.

You can get another feel for the class via this Chilean Navy video;

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