France to build anti-piracy patrol ship

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The French naval shipyard DCNS said Tuesday it plans to construct a patrol boat designed for anti-piracy operations.

The 90-metre (295-foot) vessel is planned have a top speed of 21 knots (39 km/hr, 24 miles/hr) allowing for rapid manoeuverability to conduct boardings by commandos or coast guards.

The ship, to be manned by a crew of 30, is to have range of 8,000 nautical miles, have a helicopter pad and be able to handle drones, and cost around 30 million euros (39 million dollars) .

DCNS made the announcement during a visit Tuesday by President Nicolas Sarkozy to launch the construction of a European multi-role naval vessel.

The anti-piracy patrol craft is part of the plans by the shipyard, which has focused on larger vessels, to expand its sales.

It hopes to have the first ship built within 18 months.

"The Navy will test it and show it to potential clients," said the shipyard's CEO, Patrick Boissier.

© 2010 AFP

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