The French defense procurement agency DGA has awarded a shipbuilding team lead by the PIRIOU shipyard and DCNS to construct three multi-mission ocean-going vessels, with an option for a fourth. The B2M multi-mission ships are intended for operation overseas, each will have a length of 65 metres long and a displacement of 1500-2300 tons. The vessels will be delivered in 2015 and 2016.
When the B2M will become operational, it will be able to better support rapid response operations, including emergency evacuation of citizens, conducting underwater intervention supporting divers and underwater surveillance missions using remotely operated vehicles (ROV).
Apart from paramilitary missions B2M will also support enforcing the French ministerial missions Government Action at Sea (MEAs) addressing operations in the Economic Exclusion Zone; they will support fisheries police missions, fight against illegal immigration, drug trafficking and piracy and assist ships in distress, through employing towing and firefighting means.
The vessels will have a top speed of 12 to 15 knots, with mission endurance of approximately 30 days without replenishment. The B2M are designed to enable high utilization, sustaining up to 200 days per year. The boats will have accommodations for 20 additional personnel (joint, police or gendarmerie) plus with two 4×4 vehicles along with their weapons and ammunition. Each boat will be equipped for self sustained operations. The ship will be equipped with a crane for loading and unloading containers, carry an eight-meter work boat for ship-to-shore operations and several semi-rigid (RHIBs) boats. B2M will also be capable of deploying divers. The ship will be fitted with attachments for carrying weapons and munitions. Each boat will also be equipped with firefighting equipment and will support towing capacity of up to 30 tons.
PIRIOU will be responsible for the design and the construction of the ships. DCNS is co-contractor with PIRIOU for the military aspects of the design studies and the supply of the onboard communications systems (SITIP). DCNS will also be responsible for in-service support (ISS) of each ship for up to 6 years.
To carry out the project the two companies have established in 2013 a joint venture named called KERSHIP.
“This order was fundamental for us. First in practical terms, as we needed it to avoid a dip in workload in 2014, but also of course in strategic terms, since it gives substance to our collaboration with DCNS, which is boosted into orbit with excellent prospects for the future, particularly for export.” Pascal PIRIOU, Chairman and CEO of the PIRIOU group said.