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The Ministry of Defence (MOD) of the Republic of Croatia is acquiring a series of five vessels from Brodosplit shipyard, in order to increase the maritime protection capabilities of the Croatian Navy and the Croatian Coast Guard.
The vessels’ primary mission is to conduct patrols in Croatian territorial waters in both Adriatic and Mediterranean seas. The ships can also be used to perform other missions such as search-and-rescue, monitoring and protection of internal waters, combat, special operations missions, and logistics support.
Deliveries of all vessels are scheduled to be completed by 2020.
Acquisition of in-shore patrol vessels
A tender for the construction of five coastal patrol vessels was released in April 2013. The Croatian MOD received bids from a number of companies in March 2014.
In December 2014, Croatian shipyard, Brodosplit, secured a contract worth HRK385m (approximately $62.5m) from the Croatian MOD to build five in-shore patrol vessels, including a prototype and four production vessels.
Keel for the prototype of the in-shore patrol vessel was laid at Brodosplit shipyard in the city of Split in September 2015. The vessel was lowered into waters in June this year and is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.
The ship is scheduled to be delivered to the Croatian Navy in the third quarter of 2017, following the completion of in-port and navigation tests, which will performed by Brodosplit in collaboration with the MOD and the Croatian Register of Shipping.
Upon receiving the prototype, the Croatian Navy will conduct a series of prototype tests in the Adriatic Sea to evaluate the ship’s navigation capabilities and technical specifications. The trials are expected to be completed at the end of this year.
Design and features of the coastal patrol vessels
Croatian Navy’s new coastal patrol vessels will be built in accordance with the Croatian Register of Shipping standards. The vessel features a conventional bow structure, which reduces wave resistance.
The overall and waterline lengths of the vessel are 43.5m and 39.11m respectively, while the design and maximum draughts are 1.8m and 2.48m. The ship has a depth of 3.89m and maximum beam of 8m.
With a displacement of 220t, the patrol vessel can accommodate a crew of 14 members and three officers. Command and control functions are performed from the ship’s navigational bridge located amidship.
The patrol ship will carry a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which is manned by six crew members, to conduct transportation and patrol duties at sea.
Armament of Croatia’s new patrol vessels
The coastal patrol vessels will be armed with a 30mm automatic gun, remotely operated machine guns, and air defence systems.
Mounted in the bow, the electrically operated 30mm naval gun can engage fast attack craft, patrol boats and surface targets in fullyautomatic mode. Equipped with EO/IR (electro-optical and infrared) sensors and a laser rangefinder, the weapon can operate in both day and night conditions.
A 12.7mm remotely operated machine gun will be fitted on the port and starboard sides of the navigation bridge to defeat small ships and light targets.
The vessel will be armed with up to four man-portable air-defense systems (MANPAD) to firepower against enemy aircraft and helicopters flying at low altitudes.
Croatia’s new coastal patrol vessels will incorporate a number of navigation and communications systems to provide enhanced performance and reliability.
The navigational aids include marine radar, searchlight, communication antennae, and a gyro-stabilised EO/IR turret. It will also have ultra-high frequency (UHF) satellite communications (SATCOM), a surveillance radar, and marine radios.
Located on top of the navigational bridge, the EO/IR sensor pod will offer increased situational awareness in all lighting conditions.
Propulsion and performance of the patrol vessels
Each of the five in-shore patrol vessels will be powered by two Caterpillar 3516C marine propulsion engines rated at 2,525kW each. It will also be fitted with two propellers for high speeds and improved manoeuvrability.
The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 28kt. The vessel can reach a range of 1,000nm when sailing at a speed of 15kt. It will have the ability to stay at sea for up to 10 days.
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