Irish Navy

The Irish Naval Service has reportedly floated out the third and last Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel (OPV), LÉ William Butler Yeats.

A total of two Samuel Beckett-class PVs were ordered by Ireland’s Department of Defence under a £81m contract from Babcock Marine in October 2010, with the option of a third vessel.

In June 2014, the department exercised the option under the original contract to place an order for the third OPV, which was scheduled for delivery in the middle of this year.

“The OPVs replace three earlier vessels, the Deirdre Class LE Emer, LE Aoife and LE Aisling.”

Designed by Vard Marine, the OPVs replace three earlier vessels, the Deirdre Class LE Emer, LE Aoife and LE Aisling, which were commissioned with the Irish Naval Service between 1978 and 1984.

The vessels, with dynamic positioning (DP) systems and power take-in systems, can be deployed to carry out search-and-rescue, search-and-recovery, undersea exploration and increased sea area surveillance.

These are designed to carry remotely operated submersibles, plus a decompression chamber for divers.

Measuring 90m in length, the 2256t OPVs can achieve speeds of 23k and a range of 6,000nm, at a cruise speed of 15k on a single engine.

The ship’s command, control and communications system will work alongside a 76mm gun, as well as two 20mm cannons and four general purpose machine guns.

The first two OPVs, named LE Samuel Beckett and LE James Joyce, have already joined the Irish Navy.

All the three vessels were built at the Babcock International shipbuilding facility at Appledore, Devon, UK, and were classed by Lloyd’s Register.

Image: Babcock delivered three offshore patrol vessels for the Irish Naval Service. Photo: © Lloyd’s Register Group Services Limited.