Update: the Nigerian Navy is no longer acquiring the MBDA's SIMBAD-RC air defence system.
To plug the capability gap in its naval air defence umbrella, the Nigerian Navy has acquired 40 MBDA’s SIMBAD-RC air defence system which fires the Mistral short-range anti-air missile.
The MBDA SIMBAD-RC air defence system will be mounted on the two new offshore patrol vessels OPV-76 currently being built in Turkey be Dearsan shipyard.
In August last year, the Nigerian Navy (NN) announced its intention to procure two new offshore patrol vessels (OPV), after it received approval from the President Muhammadu Buhari.
Turkish Dearsan Shipyard was awarded a contract to deliver in 37 months two new OPV 76 to Nigeria.
The two new Turkish-built OPV 76 will further enhance Nigeria’s naval capacity currently served by two P-18N OPVS, two Hamilton-class patrol cutters, a number of fast patrol missile-boats, and several inshore patrol vessels.
The SIMBAD-RC missile system will replace the now decommissioned Italian-made Aspide medium range surface-to-air missile produced by Selenia mounted in Nigeria’s Combattante III-B class missile craft (NNS Siri, NNS Ayam, NNS Ekun and NNS Ayam), and British short-range subsonic Sea Cat surface-to-air missile system.
The SIMBAD-RC comprises of one or two twin-MISTRAL missile very short range anti-air missile turrets, remotely controlled. It is capable of ensuring the anti-air defence of all types of vessels, especially small patrol boats and large logistics ships, against a wide range of threats ranging from anti-ship missiles and combat aircraft to smaller surface threats such as fast inshore attack craft.
SIMBAD RC is already in production and in service with four navies.
The new Mistral-armed OPV-76s will provide short-range air defence protection for Nigeria’s new NNS Kada, an LST-100 class landing ship built by Damen Albwerdy, while a more competent frigate is procured soon to replace the Navy’s flagship NNS Aradu.