Babcock’s Appledore to build fourth Irish offshore patrol vessel

The Irish Department of Defense has awarded Babcock and its Appledore shipyard a contract to build the nation’s fourth Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel.

All four vessels are built at the Appledore shipyard in North Devon at a unit price of around €54 million.

The first two vessels in the class, LÉ Samuel Beckett and LÉ James Joyce are already in service while a third ship, the LÉ William Butler Yeats is currently being built and is due to embark on sea trials in July 2016.

The yet unnamed fourth OPV is scheduled to be completed within the next two years.

At 90 metres long and 2256 tonnes, the ships have a top speed of 23 knots and a range of 6,000 nautical miles at a cruise speed of 15 knots.

The OPVs have a 76mm gun as the main weapon and are able to act as a mother ship for three fully independent Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats.

John Howie, Divisional CEO of Babcock’s Marine and Technology businesses said: “We are really delighted to continue to support the Irish Naval Service with these important vessels. Our firm role is to safely provide cost-effective, value for money naval platforms that underpin our customer’s increasing requirements to protect their coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone, further enhancing border control capability and maritime security.”