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First patrol ship exported to Nigeria launched

2014-02-20 14:26 China Military Online Web Editor: Wang Fan

The first F91 stealth patrol ship China sold to Nigeria was successfully launched on the morning of January 27, 2014. It is going to serve as the Nigerian Navy's first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) of the P18N Project to perform such missions as coastal patrol and guard, protection of exclusive economic zone (EEZ), maritime search and rescue as well as marine contamination prevention.

According to the relevant material, the F91 OPV has a total length of 95 meters, a waterline of 89 meters and a draft of 3.5 meters. Powered by two main diesel engines and driven by dual-axis variable-pitch propellers, it can achieve a maximum speed of 21 knots with a crew complement of 70 sailors and an endurance of 20 days on the sea.

Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, former director of the Strategic Studies Institute of the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLAN), particularly mentioned the stealth capability of the F91 OPV in an interview made by the Beijing Television (BTV): "The external design is slightly tilted inwardly with the upper deck charged with less bevels so as to form less radar focal points and smaller area of radar reflection."

He also pointed out that the 1,800-ton ship should have an equivalent radar reflection area of a 500-ton ship if it achieves such specified stealth capability. Only in this way can it be invisible unless at a closer distance.

Meanwhile, some terrorists currently have strong anti-reconnaissance capability and powerful combat capability though they are usually mounted on civilian vessels. However, some fishing boats and yachts are equipped with radars. When they are sailing, they can search out military vessels in their surroundings. Therefore, the stealth performance of the F91 OPV becomes increasingly needed in confronting non-traditional security threats.

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