It was on a sunny day on the 7th of May 2017. Two months after a French Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV),Commandant L’ Herminier, wowed Nigerians Commandant L’ Herminier, after making a Port Call at the Naval Dockyard in Lagos, more than four hundred Nigerians were enthralled with splendour at the unveiling of Nigeria’s two newest warship, NNS Unity and NNS Centenary,as part of programmes marking its 61st founding anniversary. This is the first time Nigeria will be acquiring a “tear rubber” naval vessel since the aquisition of the Meko Class Frigate NNS Aradu in 1983.
The Navy opened the Stealth Patrol Vessels to the viewing pleasure boarders inclusive of children and adults, sailing fifteen nautical miles away from breakwater. Receiving the public, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai, enjoined them to enjoy the splendor of sea experience.
So lets take look at the two Stealth OPV’s (Stealth Offshore Patrol Vessels).
NNS Unity is a1,500 tons Corvette fills the capability gap of the Nigerian Navy for a cost-effective vessel suited for both littoral duties and patrol escorts and protection of Nigeria’s EEZ maritime interest within 200 nautical miles. Freeing up Nigeria’s two biggest warships – NNS Thunder and NNS Okpabana to range high endurance open ocean deployment.
These two ships are for all intents and purposes a FRIGATE. They are built for long endurance. They are the only vessels in Africa capable of circumventing the continent without needing to refuel. Ships like this can be called upon to patrol the West African coast and if properly armed can carry out operations as far out as the Pacific.