Thai's new design OPV (image : Thales)
Bangkok, Thailand: Construction of the first BAE Systems designed Offshore Patrol Vessel for the Royal Thai Navy is now well underway in Thailand, as demonstrated this week at a formal keel laying ceremony at Bangkok Dock, the Company’s local partner.
The occasion, attended by Thailand's Royal representative, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and senior officials from the Royal Thai Navy, comes just 14 months after the initial contract was signed.Under the agreement, BAE Systems supplied the design of its proven 90 metre Offshore Patrol Vessel, which Bangkok Dock has adapted to meet the specific requirements of the Royal Thai Navy, for example incorporating a similar combat system to that being fitted to other ships in its fleet. Engineers from BAE Systems are working alongside Bangkok Dock, throughout the construction of the vessel to transfer design knowledge, technology and skills that will contribute to the growth of a sustainable shipbuilding capability in Thailand.
Commenting on the programme, Alan Johnston, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Surface Ships division, said: “At a time when we are seeking to boost exports, this approach to industry partnerships shows the strength that BAE Systems can bring to navies around the world as they look for cost-effective solutions to enhance the capability of their fleets to meet future requirements.”
Captain Chumpol Promprasit, managing director of Bangkok Dock, said: “To promote a domestic shipbuilding industry, the Royal Thai Navy assigned Bangkok Dock to undertake the provision of design and supply of ship build material using both domestic and international experts during construction of the Offshore Patrol Vessel.
“This is considered as promoting and improving the technical competency and potential of the Royal Thai Navy personnel in building ships for domestic purposes, based on the King’s self sustainability programme.
”The multi-mission Offshore Patrol Vessel will be used by the Royal Thai Navy to primarily be used for Economic Exclusion Zone roles, including routine patrols and border controls. It will also undertake fishery protection tasks as well as protection of natural resources in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea and disaster relief.
The BAE Systems designed 90 metre Offshore Patrol Vessel being built by Bangkok Dock for the Royal Thai Navy is the same core platform design as the ships that BAE Systems is building in the UK for the Trinidad & Tobago Coast Guard. The platform is based on the design for the smaller River Class vessels used by the UK Royal Navy and is a highly capable vessel that is attractive to the export market.
As the company continues to expand its international maritime footprint, there are ongoing discussions with prospective customers and partners in a number of markets, including South America and India.