The Gowind offshore patrol boat L'Adroit began its first sea trials on Wednesday 27 July for DCNS to validate the seakeeping and other nautical qualities of the vessel.
These initial sea trials mark the beginning of the next phase of the ambitious Gowind OPV programme, which spearheads DCNS's efforts to win a larger share of the markets for small- and medium-displacement surface ships. The sea trials are beginning in line with the contract schedule, just 14 months after construction started on the Gowind L'Adroit, an innovative offshore patrol boat designed for maritime safety & security missions.
"The start of these first sea trials is a symbolic milestone that testifies to the remarkable teamwork between DCNS, the project's investors and co-contractors, and the trial crews," said Gowind OPV programme manager Marc Maynard. "Everybody has brought their knowledge and expertise to the table, and their unflagging commitment has made it possible to consistently meet the programme's ambitious industrial milestones."
During the sea trials, more than 50 technicians on board the vessel are conducting an intensive test campaign to validate its seakeeping and other nautical qualities. After testing the ship's fire-fighting, flood control and other safety systems, the onboard team will be running trials with the propulsion system and checking vessel manoeuvrability. Alongside these sea trials, tests will also be conducted on the ship's navigation systems (log, position, heading), inertial platforms (positioning) and other systems.
When the vessel returns to dock, outfitting of the last equipment compartments and painting work will continue. Construction is scheduled for completion by DCNS at the end of 2011.
The start of sea trials with the Gowind OPV L'Adroit again demonstrates DCNS's ability to design and build a highly innovative ship in less than 24 months and in strict compliance with budget commitments.
OPV L'Adroit is being built under a DCNS-funded programme and will be made available to the French Navy for three years on completion. The three-year loan period will enable the Navy to qualify the OPV as 'sea proven', giving DCNS an exceptionally strong argument when promoting the Gowind family on the international market.
The Navy will demonstrate the Gowind's relevance and operational value for current and emerging missions on the high seas, from area surveillance to anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, fisheries policing, drug interdiction, environmental protection, humanitarian aid, search & rescue and maritime safety & security.
OPV L'Adroit has a length of 87 metres, an at-sea endurance of 3 weeks and a range of 8,000 nautical miles. With a top speed of 21 knots, the vessel has a helicopter flight deck and can accommodate UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) operations. It is designed for reduced crewing, with a complement of 30 and space for 30 passengers.
The ship features a number of major innovations for navies, commandos and coastguards: 360o panoramic visibility from the bridge, a single integrated mast for 360o radar coverage, covert deployment of fast commando boats in less than 5 minutes and provision for UAVs and USVs (unmanned surface vehicles). The Gowind family also benefits from DCNS's extensive experience in IT and command information systems. Vessels in the Gowind family can be readily tailored for extended area surveillance and, when working in conjunction with shore-based control centres and other networked ships, for the automatic detection of suspicious behaviour by ships and other craft.
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