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French Navy to Receive an Additional Light Patrol Vessel PLG for Antilles

Naval Forces News - France
French Navy to Receive an Additional Light Patrol Vessel PLG for Antilles
On September 24 2017, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly announced that a PLG (Patrouilleur Léger Guyanais or French Guyana-based Light Patrol Vessel) will be ordered in the coming weeks for delivery "as soon as possible" by 2019. The patrol vessel will be based in the French Antilles likely homeported in Martinique where the French Navy (Marine Nationale) has a permanent naval base.
French Navy Guyana-based Light Patrol Vessel PLG La Confiance is Now on Active Duty French Navy PLG light patrol vessel La Confiance in combined anti-drug training with US Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser. French Navy picture.
The move follows the recent hurricanes Irma and Maria which destroyed large portions of the Caribbeans. "In an area marked by violent cyclonic episodes, but also by the upsurge in illicit trafficking, this acquisition will increase the state's response capacities in the region, in order to better respond to humanitarian crises as well as to carry out control operations against trafficking" the ministry statement said.

As part of the "Horizon Marine 2025" modernization plan of the French Navy, two PLG patrol vessel were ordered in January 2015 to replace, from 2017, the existing P400 patrol vessels based in Guyana. This new class of vessels is designed for the environmental, nautical and operational peculiarities of the Guyanese theater and more generally of the Caribbean zone. With excellent sea keaping on the high seas as well as in the shallow waters of the Guyanese territories, they have means of force projection and coercion.
French Navy Guyana-based Light Patrol Vessel PLG La Confiance is Now on Active Duty La Confiance PLG light patrol vessel arriving in Fort-de-France, Martinique. Picture: E.Mocquillon © Marine nationale
These ships are dedicated to sovereignty missions and to protect French interests in the Antilles (French West Indies) and Guiana maritime area. One of the missions for the two PLGs will be securing the waters around the Guiana Space Center where the European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency CNES (National Centre for Space Studies), and the commercial Arianespace company conduct regular launches from Kourou. Other missions will include the fight against illicit trafficking (fisheries police, narcotics trafficking), the protection of life and property at sea and fight against pollution.

Displacing 750 tonnes, the PLGs are able to accomodate 14 people (special forces for example) in addition to 24 crew members. With a length of 60 m and a width of 9.50 m, a draft less than 3.2 meters, the vessel are able to operate in shallow waters including the Kourou river. The patrol vessels can reach speeds of 21 knots with an endurance of 12 days at 12 knots.

Contacted by Navy Recognition in 2015, a DGA official gave the following additional details:
» PLG have two shaft lines, the propelling power will be about 6 MW, capable of crossing at least 3500 NM at 12 knots.
» The weapon stations for secondary weapons will be able to receive a choice of small caliber machine guns of 12.7 mm or 7.62 mm. PLG is also equipped with water cannon.
(A Nexter Narwhal 20mm RWS is fitted at the bow).
» The two on-board RHIBs will be identical. They will have an aluminum hull and a length of about eight meters.
» PLG will have several sensor systems (radars, projectors, optronic system) enabling it to intervene at any time, day or night.