The DGA Awards the Ocean-going Patrol Vessel (OPV) Program
(Source: French defense procurement agency, DGA; issued Nov. 20, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The 12 OPVs ordered on Nov. 20 will complete the renewal of the French Navy’s fleet of patrol vessels, while the 12 Albatros surveillance aircraft will replace the Falcon 20 and Falcon 50s operated in France and in its Pacific Ocean territories. (DGA infographic)
The General Directorate of Armament (DGA) on October 23, 2020 awarded a framework agreement the Piriou, CMN and Socarenam shipyards for the study, development, construction and initial maintenance in operational condition (MCO) of ten Ocean-going Patrol Vessels (PO) for the French Navy. Naval Group is the overall architect, in charge of ship design.

Production of the OPVs will take place between 2022-2023. The 2019-2025 military programming law provides for the delivery of the first two ships in 2025.

The design and construction of the OPVs will support between 50 and 100 highly qualified and non-relocatable jobs during the design phase, and between 500 and 600 jobs per year during the production phase, both for the selected manufacturers and their many subcontractors in France.

In a context marked by the increase in maritime traffic and the increase of threats at sea, OPVs will carry out deterrence support, autonomous situation assessment in areas of sovereignty or interest, escort of valuable or vulnerable units, evacuation of nationals, sovereignty and protection of national interests in maritime approaches and action of the state at sea.

The objective of the program is to have multi-mission combat vessels, with a better situational awareness capacity than the ones currently in service (with combat management system, radar, sonar, tactical data links, infrared sensors, helicopter, drone, new-generation drone), a self-defense capacity against asymmetric threats and efficient communication systems. The program also incorporates an overall energy efficiency target.

The Ocean-going Patrol Vessel program will allow the complete renewal of the patrol boats stationed in metropolitan France, including the high seas patrol boats (PHM) based in Brest and Toulon, and the public service patrol boats (PSP) based in Cherbourg. The future OPVs will resume all of their territorial defense and maritime security missions, with an extension of their capabilities, in particular thanks to their ability to accommodate a drone or a helicopter.

The chosen acquisition strategy is based on a framework agreement enabled by several subsequent contracts. Considering the nature of the missions which will be assigned to the OPVs, it aims to make the most of national industrial skills in the fields of development, construction and naval equipment. The program will consist of two stages: a design / development phase, which has just been launched, followed by a production phase.

The first contract, awarded to Naval Group, concerns a value analysis as well as the design activities that will be carried out at objective cost.

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Ministry of the Armed Forces Orders the First Seven Maritime Surveillance and Reaction Aircraft for the French Navy
(Source: French Armed Forces Ministry; issued Nov. 20, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
SECLIN, France --- On the occasion of her November 19, 2020 visit to the Dassault Aviation plant in Seclin (Northern France), Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, recalled her earlier promise to implement the decision, taken by the Ministerial Investment Committee on November 9, to order seven Falcon 2000 LXS aircraft and their support system before the end of the year.

This order will immediately secure a hundred jobs at Dassault to develop the militarization of these aircraft.

Twelve civil aircraft will be converted for military missions under the Maritime Surveillance and Response Aircraft Program (AVSIMAR) led by the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA). Called Albatros, they will be modified to enable the French Navy to carry out its maritime surveillance, in particular the control of maritime traffic and of our maritime approaches. The 12 new Albatros will replace the eight Falcon 50M and the five Falcon 200 Gardian operated by the Naval Aviation Command, and based in Lorient and in the Pacific Ocean respectively.

The 2019-2025 Military Programming Law (LPM) provides for the delivery of the first three Albatros by 2025.

The AVSIMAR program plans to modernize and reinforce the naval air component of the French Navy dedicated to surveillance and intervention as part of defense of the maritime territory and State action at sea. This mission is today provided in mainland France and overseas by eight Falcon 50 M and five Falcon 200 Gardian which, for the oldest, will exceed 45 years of operation when they are withdrawn from service between 2025 and 2030.

This launch comes two years after the award by the DGA to Dassault Aviation of the detailed definition study of the Albatros aircraft, in accordance with the announcement made by the Minister of the Armed Forces in June 2019 at the Paris Air Show. Based on the Falcon 2000 LXS business aircraft, this study defined the necessary modifications to fulfill the very wide range of surveillance missions, all within a global approach aimed at rationalizing the acquisition and support for specialized military aircraft.

The Albatros will be a Falcon 2000 LXS equipped with a mission package comprising SATCOMs and a Link 22 tactical data link, a Search and Rescue (SAR) beacon detector and a facility for dropping a life-raft and smoke markers. The aircraft will have a range of action 10 to 30% greater than the aircraft now in service. The main high-performance sensors, Thales's SearchMaster surface surveillance radar and Safran's Euroflir 410 electro-optical infrared sensor, reflect the technical excellence of French manufacturers in these fields.

Carried out in stages, the AVSIMAR program aims initially to acquire a fleet of 12 aircraft to meet all of the intervention missions and part of the surveillance missions. The second phase of the program provides for the acquisition of additional resources, such as drones, in order to achieve 100% of the surveillance objectives.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: In her speech at Seclin, Florence Parly said that the Albatros aircraft will be based in New Caledonia and Tahiti, as well as at Lann-Bihoué in France, and will also operate from Dakar (Sénégal), and occasionally from the West Indies, Guyana, and French bases in the Indian Ocean.)

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