French shipbuilder Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN) has reached a significant milestone in its partnership with the Angolan Navy as the first of two new 70-meter landing craft has arrived in Angola.
The vessel, named RA 4 de Abril (ND 15), made its entry at the port of Luanda on 19 July, following its journey from Cherbourg onboard the Dutch-registered heavy-load vessel MV Yacht Express.
These roll-on/off-type ships are a variant of CMN’s cutting-edge LCT 200-70 design, specially crafted to facilitate landings in extremely shallow waters. Proudly touted as the largest amphibious landing craft produced by the shipbuilder, these vessels showcase a blend of modern technology and robust engineering.
Powered by two diesel engines propelling fixed-pitch propellers, the landing craft exhibits a remarkable speed of 16 knots with a full load and boasts a remarkable range of approximately 2,200 nautical miles. In terms of military lift capacity, these ships can effortlessly carry up to 200 tonnes of cargo, accommodate 260 fully equipped troops, transport three battle tanks, or ferry eight heavy vehicles or 30 light vehicles.
Designed to conduct amphibious operations, transport combat vehicles and troops. CMN started building the first vessel in January 2022, and has also begun the construction of the second tank landing craft which will be delivered in 2024. Subsequently, RA 4 de Abril (ND 15) tank landing craft was launched in February this year for the Angolan Navy as part of a follow-up deal signed in 2016.
The delivery date was initially slated for March however it was delayed.
The arrival of RA 4 de Abril in Angola represents a significant stride in strengthening the Angolan Navy’s maritime capabilities. With the ability to navigate shallow waters and undertake a diverse range of missions, these landing craft serve as valuable assets for the nation’s defence and security operations.
The LCT 200-70 design showcases CMN’s commitment to innovation and advanced engineering, providing naval forces with a versatile and reliable platform for various operational requirements. The vessels’ impressive cargo capacity and troop transport capabilities make them invaluable in supporting a wide range of military and humanitarian missions.
The vessel has a length of 70 m and a width of 10.6 m. The hull of the ship and its superstructures are made of steel. Watertight bulkheads ensure survivability in the event of damage. The ship will be able to carry up to 200 tons of military equipment, troops, and combat vehicles.
The CMN landing ship will be able to transport up to 260 soldiers and has also a 5.25m small ship with a dedicated crane that can be used to perform landing operations
In 2022, CMN did not disclose the customer, but the shipbuilder noted that the contract was on behalf of Privinvest, as part of a follow-on contract signed by Privinvest in 2016 for around 20 vessels destined for ‘an African country’.
As CMN continues its partnership with the Angolan Navy, the successful delivery of the first landing craft marks a promising beginning for future collaborations. The second landing craft, currently under construction, will soon join its counterpart in bolstering Angola’s naval prowess.
Earlier in 2016, Privinvest announced it would set-up a shipyard in Angola and supply several naval vessels under a 495 million euro deal.
The deal comprised of three CMN HSI 32 patrol craft, which were delivered in 2019, and a long range offshore patrol vessel and a short range patrol vessel from France.
CMN handed over the first of three Ocean Eagle trimaran patrol boats to Angola, in a ceremony that took place in Toulon.
Angola already operates patrol boats from CMN, including HSI 32 high-speed patrol craft.
For the Angolan Navy, the arrival of RA 4 de Abril signals a new era of enhanced maritime capabilities, enabling the nation to address security challenges more effectively and expand its presence in the region.
As Angola embraces these modern landing craft, its naval fleet stands poised to become a formidable force, ready to navigate diverse and challenging environments, safeguard its territorial waters, and contribute to regional peace and stability. The collaboration between CMN and the Angolan Navy sets a precedent for fruitful partnerships in the defense industry, underlining the importance of international cooperation in enhancing global maritime security.
Meanwhile, Angola recently signed a billion euro contract with Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), a subsidiary of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shipyards for a fleet of 71 metre BR71 Mk II corvettes.