February 19, 2016:
In January 2016 Thailand ordered a second locally built OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel). The first of these 2,500 ton River class ships entered Thai service in 2013. Built in Thailand, the new OPV should enter service by 2019. The first River class OPV performed so well that Thailand now plans to build as many as six. This ships cost about $80 million each.
The River class OPVs are a British design built locally under license and with some foreign technical assistance. This is seen as a way to improve Thailand’s shipbuilding capability. The Thais worked with British shipbuilder BAE to develop modified version of the original River class ships. Britain was the first user of these ships and four entered service between 2002 and 2006.
These corvette size ships will be used by Thailand to patrol coastal waters and to protect fishing grounds and offshore oil fields. These are 90.5 meter (281 foot) long ships displacing 2,500 tons. They carry a crew of 36 (with accommodations for up to 70) and are armed with one 30mm remotely controlled autocannon or a 76mm gun plus 2 smaller 25mm or 30mm autocannon (one on each side). Buyers can equip these ships with a wide variety of sensors and electronics and install all sorts of options. There is a landing deck in the rear for a helicopter (of up to 7 tons) or six 20 foot cargo containers (containing supplies or equipment). Top speed is 45 kilometers an hour and cruising speed is 12 kilometers an hour. Endurance is about 5 weeks. 2 speedboats are usually carried, along with a 16 ton crane. The ship can be rigged to carry 50 infantry.
Brazil bought 3 of these OPVs from Britain, with the option to build 5 more in Brazil.