The Irish Naval Service is planning to build two new ships worth €100m to be used for surveillance during fishery protection and counter-drug smuggling patrols.

The second-generation offshore patrol vessels will operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or robot planes and will replace the navy’s 30-year-old vessels which include the LE Emer, the LE Aoife and the LE Aisling.

Ireland defence minister Willie O’Dea said the country is waiting for the cabinet approval for the €100m needed to pay for the two new patrol vessels and the contract will be assessed during the budgetary process.

Patrol vessel construction company Aker Yards Marine (AYM) has teamed up with Babcock Marine of Plymouth, England to prepare a ready response for the contract.