On 17 September, DCNS floated the first Gowind 2500 corvette out of its assembly hall at the Lorient shipyard just 12 months after construction began. The Elfateh, the first of a series of four Gowind 2500s for the Egyptian Navy, is scheduled for delivery in 2017. The three sisterships will be built under a technology transfer agreement at the Alexandria Shipyard; work on the first having begun in 2016.
DCNS developed the Gowind family for navies seeking to acquire compact new-generation warships that are rugged, reliable and well-armed. Gowind corvettes and OPVs combine force projection capabilities with powerful sensor and combat systems controlled by a Setis combat management system originally developed for the FREMM frigate programme.
All Gowind vessels are true surface combatants designed to Bureau Véritas’s Naval Patrol Vessel Rules. Other features include a high level of built-in equipment redundancy and a compartment architecture ensuring hull stability in the event of flooding.
With ten units sold in 2013 and 2014, the Gowind 2500, the largest of the family, has already proven a winner. The first order was placed by Malaysia; the second by Egypt. The six ships for the Malaysian Navy are being built by Boustead Naval Shipyard with DCNS technical assistance. The first of type was laid down in 2016 and is scheduled to be floated out in 2018.
In addition to its general naval capabilities, the Gowind 2500 can be outfitted to the client navy’s requirements regarding both the propulsion configuration and the combat system, including mission-specific suites for anti-submarine warfare. The ASW version’s sensors include a hull-mounted sonar and a Captas 2 towed variable-depth sonar ensuring high-performance submarine detection. The flight deck and hangar can accommodate a 10t-class helicopter such as the NH90 or Seahawk, which in turn can deploy a dipping sonar and lightweight torpedoes. With the added benefit of DCNS’s proven expertise in platform optimisation for improved sonar efficiency, the Gowind® 2500 is a formidable submarine hunter.
Gowind 2500 corvettes are typically equipped with Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles and VL Mica anti-air missiles, both by MBDA. The electronic warfare suite can include Thales’s Vigile and Altesse R-ESM and C-ESM/ELINT solutions and an NGDS or Sylena decoy system. Airspace surveillance is provided by an NS 100 or Sea Giraffe 3D radar.
The Gowind 2500 is the first to feature the DCNS-designed panoramic sensors and intelligence module. In a single block that is assembled separately, the PSIM combines the integrated mast, complete with the radar under its radome and all the other sensors, plus the ops rooms and the associated equipment compartments.
The hangar and flight deck are sized for a 10t-class helo; a 5t-class helo (e.g. Panther) and an unmanned aerial system; or up to three UASs. For commando operations, the Gowind 2500 offers side bays for a pair of 6.5m RHIBs.
To complement the top-of-the-range Gowind 2500, DCNS also offers the entry-level Gowind 1000 fast patrol vessel. The design draws heavily on feedback from the French Navy’s operational experience since 2012 with Gowind OPV 90 L’Adroit. The new platform incorporates several innovations and state-of-the-art combat capabilities. Like the larger members of the family, the Gowind 1000 features a Setis CMS for the integrated management of the sensor suite and combat system, including anti-ship and AAW missiles. With a top speed of 30kts and a panoramic (360°) bridge, the Gowind 1000 is a true fast patrol vessel designed primarily for littoral combat and EEZ protection. The flight deck can accommodate a 10t-class helicopter and a small hangar is included for a UAS.
The Gowind 1000 is exceptionally modular. The DCNS design team has come up with an architecture offering a vast modular space under the flight deck complete with both a stern ramp and a starboard side door for RHIB deployment. This space can be reconfigured in less than 48 hours using a range of mission modules, including several supporting special forces operations. The mission payload can, for instance, include up to four 9m RHIBs, which can be launched or recovered two at a time. Other options include diving gear, a decompression chamber, unmanned underwater and surface vehicles, or additional accommodation. As new needs emerge, DCNS will also propose modules for mine countermeasures using UUVs and a USV for mine detection, location, identification and neutralisation.