The Nigerian Navy has received approval to refurbish its flagship; NNS Aradu (F89) frigate, the approval also includes a component to purchase a light frigate from Dearsan Shipyard.
According to the Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo, during the opening of the Maritime Discourse, a programme scheduled to flag off activities for the Presidential Fleet Review 2023, the NNS Aradu will be taken abroad for refit and returned within 24 months, which is the duration of the refurbishing programme.
Earlier in 2021, with the conclusion of a two-day Nigerian Navy (NN) Retreat 2021 held at new Conference Hall of Naval Headquarters (NHQ), Abuja, the naval branch was advised to seek a new frigate flagship.
Also, the Nigerian Navy in mid-2009 presented its plans for its strategic goal in the short, medium and long term.
This is part of the Nigerian Navy’s (NN) conceptualized multi-layered Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy (TSMS).
In the short term, the Navy required two light frigates, two 85 meter OPVs, six 17 meter Manta Class IPCs, six Shaldag MK 11 Patrol Craft, two 38 meter FPBs, two combat Augusta A138 helicopters, one Landing Platform Dock, and two Logistics Ships.
While the medium term spanning two-five years would require ten OPVs, 20 helicopters, one hydrographic ship, two training ships, two logistics ships, and two mine counter measure vessels (MCMVs).
In the long term spanning between five to ten years, the Nigerian Navy will require three Conventional Submarines, two corvettes, two LPDs, 20 long range maritime patrol helicopters, two training ships and two MCMVs.
Most of these naval assets have since been acquired.
NNS Aradu F89
Former NN flagship; NNS Aradu F89, (Hausa for “Thunder”) is a Meko 360H1 class multipurpose frigate based on the German Blohm & Voss MEKO 360 design pattern.
The NNS Aradu was laid down at the Blohm Voss shipyard in Hamburg on December 1, 1978, and launched on January 25, 1980, two years later. The ship replaced a smaller, older frigate, the NNS Obuma as the Nigerian Navy flagship.
By 2010, NNS Aradu was inoperable because of training and maintenance dearth in the Navy and compounded by financial problems brought about by the falling oil prices.
Ten years later, in 2020, NNS Aradu underwent a comprehensive refit at the Naval Dockyard limited in Victoria Island, Lagos in partnership with Habtop and Dorman Long.
By July 2020, Aradu had completed its repairs, it was later towed to NNS Beecroft Apapa Jetty for sea trials and additional equipment fitting.
Dearsan F-142 Frigate
The Dearsan F-142 light frigate is a multipurpose warship capable of a wide range of missions including anti-air, anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare, Electronic Warfare, and Surveillance, Reconnaissance.
It’s armanment load out comprises of a single 76 mm. Leonardo Super Rapid Gun, two 35mm Close in Weapon System (CIWS), two 12.7mm Stabilized Automatic Machine Gun, four quadruple Surface to Air Missiles, two quadruple Surface to Surface Missiles, and two Torpedo Launching System.
Dearsan business with Nigeria
In August 2021, the Nigerian Navy (NN) announced its intention to procure two new offshore patrol vessels (OPV), after it received approval from the President Muhammadu Buhari.
In September last year, Turkish DEARSAN Shipyard started the construction of two OPV-76 Offshore Patrol Vessels for the Nigerian Navy with a keel laying ceremony held on September 16, 2022.
The OPVs are being constructed as part of a contract signed between Dearsan and the Nigerian Navy in 2021.