OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessels) orders have dramatically increased according to suppliers. Whereas the United Kingdom are adding just two vessels to the Royal Navy in the next two years, other parts of the word are showing eight times that.
Latin American orders for OPVs has increased from 13% to 16% with a further 50 vessels planned for the region. Argentina further to the purchase of 20 JF-17 fighter jets from China earlier in the year, has added 5 OPVs to their order docket at the cost of $50 million each. The balance of the vessels bound for the region dispersed amongst the other 25 Latin American nations.
The Chinese built JF-17 Thunder based on the Russian MiG21
The growing popularity of the OPV is due to its versatility. They can either be outfitted as fighting vessels with heavy weaponry and C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) suites, or as a basic patrol vessel designed for low intensity, sustained missions with basic armaments and commercial grade equipment.
Royal Navy OPV HMS Clyde
Configuration depends on the requirements of the navy in question, geography and its role. The cheaper multi-role variety are being put to work all over the world protecting fishing vessels, search and rescue, counter narcotics operations and enforcing exclusive economic zone (EEZ) boundaries, an issue most certainly on the minds of Royal Navy at present.
It’s this flexibility that has made the Offshore Patrol Vessels the fastest growing segment of the Naval Vessels Market with 23 countries having ordered 132 between them, and 28 countries planning to order a further 256 for a total order value of $60 billion.
Asia has the largest proportion of the current fleet approximately 40% - and the numbers on order - 67%. Japan and India sail 56% of the Asian vessels between them, while India alone has 42% of the total vessels on order worldwide - 163 vessels at a cost of $25.2 billion.
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