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French deliver fIrst OPV to Morocco

An early December delivery following a month of sea trials is the schedule for Rais Bargach, a 210-ft. (64-m) offshore patrol vessel, the first of four ordered by the Moroccan of Leroux et Lotz Patrol Vessel (OF from its range of span from 115 to 177-ft. (54-m) v< Mauritania, an currently in b Cormoran for t' Work on Rai, within weeks of a new shi vernment from the French yard aval. It is also the first Offshore ) of this size to be built by the yard ve similar standard designs which 75 ft. (35 to 84 m) in length. One sion has already been supplied to three more of this shorter type are Id including the nearly completed e French navy.

Bargach began in November 1994, the establishment by Leroux et Lotz uilding facility at Le Rohu, Lorient with a coverefl erection hall and launching berth for vessels up to B60 ft. (110 m). The speed of construction owes mu4h to the design concept, common to the range, which consists of a standard operationally effective patijol boat employing a basic simplicity of build techniau&s in conventional, well-understood materials a n ! the use of proven equipment. Its innovative quality ia its multi-role flexibility and adaptability for general surveillance and intervention with provision forlfiiefighting, anti-pollution activities, towing, arma\pqnts, medical assistance and helicopter operations — some as standard items, others as optional extras.

The entire series has steel hulls and light alloy superstructures. More specifically, the OPV 64 for Morocco uses two independent shaft lines each comprising a Wartsila Nohab V16 diesel of 5,000 hp driving a 2,000-mm diameter KaMeWa controllable pitch propeller through a Maag gearbox.

This configuration gives the 600- ton vessel a maximum speed of 24 knots, an operating range at 12 knots of 4,000 nautical miles and an endurance of 20 days. However, this would be considerably extended by use of the electric loiter drive system which, even when used alone, would give an impressive top speed of eight knots. Other propulsion options are available with maximum speeds of 28 and 32 knots.

Also located below the main deck are the majority of the ship's 54 berths, laundry and ample storage space, while on the main deck level the superstructure contains an exceptionally spacious sick bay, separate wardrooms for officers and petty officers, ratings mess room, two offices, galley and emergency genset room.

Aft of the wheelhouse is the captain's cabin and wardroom, two additional offices, operations center and chart room. The bridge is well furnished with the predictable electronic components such as GPS, sounder, VHF, UHF and autopilot but, in addition, there are two Decca Bridgemaster radar systems with ARPA.

Undoubtedly the 400-cu.-m./hr. water monitor will have a policing role in addition to providing firefighting assistance; however, two 5-cu.-m. dispersant tanks and a pair of 26.2-ft. (8-m) long dispersant booms may be considered unusual items on a vessel which also carries 40- and 76-mm guns and unspecified missiles.

Launch of the next three vessels in the initial Moroccan Government contract is scheduled to take place at regular six-month intervals and, according to Gerard de la Cochetiere of the company's Military Department, an order for a fifth OPV is expected shortly from the same source.

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