South African Navy’s Project Biro inshore patrol boat launched

Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) has launched the first of three Multi Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPVs) for the South African Navy (SAN), ordered under Project Biro.

According to a 25 March 2021 statement by Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT), the more than 600 ton vessel was transported from the DSCT shipyard in Cape Town on the evening of 23 March 2021. It will will augment South Africa’s maritime security by enhancing the country’s capability to respond effectively, rapidly and cost-effectively to threats such as illegal trafficking and fishing.

DSCT Project Manager, Ian Stewart, said the launch is an important milestone for the shipyard. “This is the culmination of three years of hard work by a dedicated team of people. Ultimately, more than one million man-hours of work will be invested in the construction of the three MMIPVs.”

The testing of the ship systems will now commence before the official delivery to SAN, scheduled for H2 2021.

Last month, the navy held a christening ceremony for the first of three 62-meter-long Project BIRO units.

The MMIPVs, built to the Stan Patrol 6211 design, have a maximum speed of 26.5 knots, a range of 4 000 nautical miles,systems crew of up to 62. The vessels will each carry one 7 metre long RHIB and one 9 metre long RHIB for boarding operations. Combat equipment will include a combat management system, radar, forward gun position and heavy machinegun positions. Reutech is supplying 20 mm Super Sea Rogue turrets with Denel GI2 cannons, as well as RTS 3200 Optronics Radar Tracker (FORT) systems and communications systems.
The MMIPVs are based on Damen FCS 5009 Axe Bow design, which ensures low resistance, high sustained speed in waves and superior sea keeping characteristics in the toughest conditions.

As vertical accelerations are reduced significantly and bow slamming almost eliminated, the safety of the vessel and crew increases considerably, reducing operational risks. The multi mission deck is used for supporting diving, search and rescue and anti-piracy operations.

Deliveries of all three MMIPVs are expected between 2021 and 2023. They will be based at Naval Base Durban.

The engineering of the vessel commenced in 2018 and the keel was laid in February 2019. “Despite the COVID lockdown period, our local skills and partnerships, resilient production schedule and advanced planning capabilities of our Cape Town team, allowed the different subcontractors and teams to work on the vessel in a safe manner,” notes Moloi.

DSCT HR and transformation manager Eva Moloi said: “Our local skills transfer and Enterprise and Supplier Development (ESD) initiatives mean that we are not only contributing to the South African economy but ensuring that our local South African maritime market is less reliant on imports from international suppliers.

“DSCT fully supports the transfer of technology, inclusion of local companies in the execution projects, and stimulation of export transactions under the Defence Industrial Participation (DIP) programme, which particularly focuses on benefiting SMMEs, Military Veteran (MV) Owned Entities and Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Compliant Entities.

“The partnerships formed during this project have led to the successful launch of the MMIPV. One can truly state that the MMIPVs have been built in South Africa, by South Africans for South Africa.”

Sarah Lesedi

Defense technological enthusiasts, African lover. Chief Chronicler at Sarah Lesedi blog.

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