It was a warm summer day in the Ivory Coast when the Ivorian Navy received a much-awaited delivery. On the horizon, the silhouette of a new vessel emerged – the OPV-45 OPV from Israel. This new patrol boat was a welcome addition to the Ivorian Navy, promising increased capabilities to defend their coasts and protect their maritime resources.
The OPV-45 is a state-of-the-art patrol boat, built to the highest standards of quality and performance. It is equipped with advanced sensor systems, allowing it to monitor the surrounding area and detect potential threats. The powerful engine and efficient drive system allow it to reach speeds of up to thirty knots, making it an ideal platform for quick response operations. In addition, it carries a variety of weapons, including light and heavy machine guns, anti-aircraft missiles, and torpedoes.
Israel Shipyards began building the two OPV-45 offshore patrol vessels for Cote d’Ivoire in December 2020, although, at the time, Israel Shipyards did not reveal who the customer was, only saying the vessels would be delivered in the next two years. The two vessels are said to have been purchased by Alassane Ouattara, the Ivorian President through a clandestine deal with Israel at an undisclosed price.
The business is said to ongoing support and training as well as the creation of a maintenance programme within the framework of the company’s Integration Logistic Support (ILS) services.
The OPV-45 also provides the Ivorian Navy with an invaluable asset for search and rescue operations. Its advanced communications systems allow it to coordinate with other vessels and aircraft in the area, providing a comprehensive picture of the situation. Furthermore, its large deck area can accommodate a range of vehicles and personnel, making it an ideal platform for responding to emergencies at sea.
Engine manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions was contracted to provide engines for the two Israel Shipyards vessels ordered by Ivory Coast, as well as three OPV 58 S patrol boats being built by France’s Piriou group for the Senegalese navy.
The addition of the OPV-45 to the Ivorian Navy is a major step forward in the country’s maritime defense capabilities. It provides the Navy with the tools necessary to protect their coasts and respond quickly to any threats that may arise. Moreover, it serves as a symbol of the country’s commitment to defending its maritime interests and maintaining a secure environment.
The first vessel of the class , Esperance (P2202), departed Haifa, Israel, on 10 February and was seen in Malta on the 13th, Las Palmas on the 20th, and Dakar, Senegal, on the 26th. She arrived in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on 6 March, after undergoing sea trials in December last year ahead of its delivery.
In short, the OPV-45 from Israel is a welcome addition to the Ivorian Navy. Its advanced capabilities and versatile design make it an invaluable asset for defending the country’s maritime interests. With this new patrol boat, the Ivorian Navy is well-equipped to face any threats that may arise in the future.
The Ivorian OPV-45 design is 45.7 metres long, has a beam of 8.6 metres and a displacement of 300 tons. It can accommodate between 21 crew, and has an additional berth for up to 24 personnel. The vessel can carry a 7.2-metre rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) in an automated launch-and-recovery system on the aft deck, which can also take 20-foot containerised modules for different missions.
Its Weapons options includes stabilised naval gun systems of up to 30 mm on the foredeck and 12.7 mm machine guns on the hull. Israel Shipyards said the African customer’s vessels will be equipped with day/night observation systems as well as stabilized weapon systems, both Israeli-made.
Meanwhile, the Ivorian Navy has taken delivery of a second-hand P400 54.8 meters offshore patrol vessel from France. The vessel Contre Amiral Fadika was handed over in a ceremony last week after extensive refurbishment by Piriou.
In April, Ivorian Admiral Kouame announced the forthcoming acquisition of the P400 opv, as well as two OPV-45s and maritime surveillance drones as part of revitalization of the navy.