Beeg Eagle’s Blog can authoritatively report the fact , following exhaustive investigation into the affair, that the Nigerian Navy which appeared to have lost out to the Bangladesh Navy in the hunt for a pair of ex-British Royal Navy 1,850 ton, 85-metre Castle-class OPVs have actually gone one better and acquired one of the much larger USCG Hamilton-class cutters which will serve as an Offshore Patrol Vessel in the Nigerian Navy.

The 115m ex-USCG ship weighing in at 3,250 tons is one of a flotilla of twelve sister ships which were extensively modernised in the early 1990s. In real terms, though not nearly as heavily armed, the Hamilton-class are roughly the size of Nigeria’s flagship, the MEKO 360 frigate that is NNS Aradu and that says a lot about their potential seakeeping capabilities.

Nigerian Navy personnel quoted as being in training in Alaska above will probably steer the ship back to Nigeria. The Nigerian Navy are reportedly billed to take possession of the warship in May 2011.

USCGC CHASE, now Nigerian Navy-owned


*Nigerian Navy prepares for Chase.
About 20 Nigerian naval personnel are undergoing familiarisation training aboard one of the US Coast Guard’s (USCG’s) Hamilton-class high endurance cutters before taking delivery..09-Mar-2011

Confirmation of the sale of the vessel to Nigeria can be found on the website of the United States Coast Guard.

As far as the acquisition of naval platforms go, Nigeria have been virtually slumbering for twenty years on the bounce. It is hoped that they reach for a minimum of FOUR units of these Hamilton-class warships. Sometime ago, it emerged somewhere that Nigeria need 35 Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) and Offshore Patrol Craft(OPC) to effectively police her Exclusive Economic Zone.

Even so, this was an evaluation which was carried out before September 2009 when her EEZ was increased from the previous 200 nautical mile limit to the current 350 nautical mile limit.

It is the case that for the price of a new frigate, Nigeria can acquire six of these used but still seaworthy OPVs (three or four when the OPVs are acquired brand-new). Right now, Nigeria’s emphasis should be piling on the numbers.

There are countries in Scandinavia such as Sweden and Denmark which have large fleets of cutters, fisheries protection vessels, OPCs and OPVs decommissioned or on the cusp of becoming so. Ditto Canada.

For a token and with the 2011 defence budget put at about US$2.05 billion, Nigeria can easily afford to grab several of such platforms and with those not already armed to the desired degree, the Navy can then acquire 40mm, 57mm and 76mm naval guns from either Israel, Singapore or China and have them mounted on the platforms, in-country.

In tandem with the foregoing, the Federal Government also need to acquire new platforms such as landing ships and corvettes for the Navy.

The Nigerian Navy are up for it with the menace of armed insurrection, illegal fishing, oil bunkering, piracy and terrorism being so rife within Nigeria’s maritime frontiers with Central Africa where Nigeria also have to police resource-rich Joint Development Zones with Sao Tome and Equato-Guinea respectively as well as oil industry infrastructure.

In SW Nigeria where the busiest shipping route in West and Central Africa is situated, piracy remains a real threat. For a fact, Nigeria’s EEZ is consistently ranked by the International Maritime Organisation as the deadliest on the planet bar Somalia’s.

If the international contingents active off Somalia are equipped with destroyers and frigates, the most cost-effective option available to the Nigerian Navy who are fated to multi-task at sea is to acquire platforms as huge as the USCGC Chase which are oceangoing and can withstand the very turbulent sea states which are bound to go with the challenge.

Even Equatorial-Guinea which received her first-ever Coastal Patrol Craft(a Simmoneau SM 5115) from Nigeria in 1986 are preparing to take charge of their EEZ and have thus far splashed out about $300-350m on the acquisition of a pair of brand-new Israeli-built OPVs and a triad of South Korean-built corvettes…a fantastic bargain for new platforms!

It is gladdening that the FG have finally decided to take on the bigger challenge of acquiring major surface combatants for the Navy. It has taken a very long time indeed which should never again be the case. Nigeria only need to buy smart with the resources made available to the Navy.

This is surely a new and good beginning of a hoped-for total renewal of the Nigerian Navy. Kudos to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Technical Details:

Displacement: 3,250 metric tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: CODOG system featuring 2 x Pratt & Whittney FT4A-6 gas turbines producing 36,000 horsepower (27,000 kW) or 2 x Fairbanks-Morse 38TD8-1/8-12 12-cylinder diesel engines generating 7,000 hp (5,200 kW)
Speed: 29 knots
Range: 14,000 nautical miles
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167
Armament: 76 mm cannon, 2x 25 mm Mk38, 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (Close In Weapons System)

About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies


  1. nik says:

    nigerians have waited too long for this. however, if we no where we are going as a nation, we should do first things first. check out the airforce; training is a priority. u dont acquire platforms without adequately trained personnels. train ur engrs cos dats d only way the navy will become sea going instead of just afloat.

    • Victor O. Teves says:

      July 20, 2011

      The USCGC Hamilton acquired by the Philippine Navy and now renamed BRP Gregorio del Pilar has departed from Alameda, on its way to the Philippines. Sooner it will roam around the Spratlys.

      For months it sat side by side with Nigerian Navy’s NNS Aradu, formerly USCGC Chase. By the looks of the Nigerian sailors it seemed that they are sad considering that NNS Aradu has not yet departed for Nigeria. (Please browse Philippine Defense Forum Index). The two navies’ sailors have became friends the way they are waiving each others.

      Reports have it that NNS Aradu will leave USA for Nigeria on December which is quite a long wait for the Nigerian sailors.

      I hope that the ongoing works for NNS Aradu be facititated so that the sailors would join their famiies.before Christmas.

      Victor O. Teves
      Iligan City, Philippines

      • beegeagle says:

        Thanks,Victor. There is a slight mix-up which I need to correct though.

        The 3,250 ton ex-USCGC Chase is not the NNS Aradu. She is actually now christened “NNS Thunder F90”.

        That makes her different from the slightly larger 3,600 ton NNS Aradu F89, a German-built MEKO 360 frigate which has been in Nigerian Navy service since the early 1980s. The NNS Aradu is the flagship of the Nigerian Navy whereas the NNS Thunder is the second biggest ship in the Nigerian Navy’s fleet.

        Thanks for all the minute details and long live the fraternal relations between the Nigerian,Philippines and US navies.

  2. jimmy Hollyee says:

    The article clearly stated they are being trained in Alaska. Nigeria clearly needs to acquire at least 2 TROOP carrying Ships ( battalion size with their equipment) To sincerely take care of their most valuable assets . And also the FG should should establish A brigade (1000-5000) or a division(10,000) of marines under the NAVY. The majority of nations that have coastal areas have them ( US, Britain, Germany)

  3. Ademola John says:

    Nice to happen to Nigerian Navy

  4. Ade says:


  5. REMI JIBOWU says:

    Its heartening to hear that we are getting new platforms to renew and augment existing naval capability. It is essential that a coherent regional policy of defending the EEZ, entrenching democracy (Removing dictators) and securing regional markets for Nigeria and its allies is sustained using a Navy that has offensive/defensive capabilities with decent platforms, ordnance delivey, electronice intelligence and support for hi caliber commandoes that can be inserted and extracted from hostile territory at will. Congratulations, now equip the platform correctly and train, train train.

  6. BEEG EAGLE says:

    The USCGC HAMILTON has also now been transferred to the Nigerian Navy. That means we get TWO of the warships pictured above. The USCGC Chase has been renamed the NNS THUNDER with the designation F90, making her the second frigate in the NN inventory. The HAMILTON which will be the third frigate should be delivered within a matter of months:


    U.S. strengthens Nigeria’s security, donates two warships

    AS part of its renewed military assistance to Nigeria and to help monitor the Gulf of Guinea more effectively, the United States (U.S.) is transferring the ownership of two of its well known warships to the Federal Government today in California, U.S.

    The two ships – Chase and Hamilton, regarded as high endurance warships, which had been in the service of the U.S. Coast Guard in the last 43 and 44 years respectively, were recently decommissioned – (stepped down) by the U.S. authorities in March and are now being donated to Nigeria, according to a spokesperson of the U.S. Coast Guard who spoke ahead of the event where the ownership would be transferred to Nigeria.

    A team of Nigerian diplomats, Federal Government and military officials are already in Alameda, California at one of the bases of the U.S. Coast Guard service to receive the offer from the Americans. Led by the Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, Prof. Ade Adefuye, the team includes the new Nigeria Defence Attache to the U.S. Navy Captain Adefemi Kayode.

    According to Sondra Kay, a spokesperson of the U.S. Coast Guard Services, two separate events will take place today, one by 9 a.m. and the other by 2 p.m. where both ships would be handed over to Nigeria one after the other in California. According to Sondra Kay, the names Chase and Hamilton which the ships bear have now been dropped since Nigeria will now have to give the ships new names.

    Both Chase and Hamilton are veterans of the US Coast Guard fleet and have been in service for 43 and 44 years and both ships have a wide capacity and weighing about 378 feet in length, according to the spokesperson.

    Both ships were actively used by the US military during the Vietnam war and while Chase was engaged as surveillance ship when the US declared the war on terror after 2011, Hamilton has also been engaged on several missions including recently helping out in Haiti after the disaster of last year.

    According to the US Coast Guards Services, CGC Chase-(CGC meaning Coast Guards Cutter) “is designed as a “high endurance” cutter. Her crossing range of 9,600 miles at 20 knots, and 80 foot flight deck, capable of handling both Coast Guard and Navy helicopters, make the Chase an ideal platform for extended patrol missions.

    Besides, Chase’s regular missions include “enforcement of all U.S. maritime laws and treaties, fisheries conservation, marine pollution response, defence readiness, and search and rescue. CGC Chase was one of the first naval vessels built with a combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion plant.”

    It was added that Chase’s engineering plant “includes two 3,500 horsepower diesel engines, and two 18,000 horsepower gas turbines, which can achieve a top speed of 28 knots. Two 13-foot diameter controllable pitch propellers, combined with a retractable and rotatable bow propulsion unit, give Chase high maneuverability.”

    When they were decommissioned in March, the Commandant of the US Coast Guards Services, Admiral Bob Papp commended both ships generously. In a statement from the US Coast Guards, Admiral Papp said Hamilton which is 44 years old, having been commissioned in 1967 was the first US military vessel to employ aircraft gas turbine engines combined with diesel engines.

    According to him, its motto , “Always first”, truly reflects the ship’s history. For instance Papp said Hamilton was also the first US military vessel to arrive in Vietnam during the war. Last year, the ship sailed for 205 days and covered over 50,000 nautical miles according to Admiral Papp.

    On the other hand Papp disclosed that Chase won the Navy Meritorious unit commendation and the Vietnam Service Medal. Commissioned in 1968, he said Chase had been part of “virtually everyone of the US Coast Guards challenging maritime missions. Chase’s motto was “There is no work better than ours!”

    Valued at several millions of dollars both ships are said to be part of renewed US military assistance to Nigeria. For instance US news agency report yesterday cited a Pentagon counterterrorism training and equipment initiative known as the Section 1206 programme , which has funnelled aid to 53 countries including Nigeria.

    Funding for that initiative has risen to $500 million in the Obama administration’s request for fiscal year 2012, which starts October 1, and under the programme, Nigeria reportedly got maritime surveillance gear to monitor traffic in the Gulf of Guinea.

    Also in 2003 and 2004, the US also gave several ships to the Nigerian military, but Chase and Hamilton are said to be some of the highest capacity ships donated to the Federal Government by the Americans.

  7. BEEG EAGLE says:


    Interesting…NNS ARADU F89 (our flagship) also means the same thing as “thunder”

    Nigeria Renames US Warship NNS Thunder F90

    14 May 2011

    By  Tokunbo Adedoja in Alamedo, Califonia

    UCG Chase, the warship given by the United States Coast Guard to the Nigerian Navy, has been renamed NNS Thunder F90.

    At a colourful transfer ceremony held Friday at the Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Califonia, where the new name for the ship was announced, US flag was lowered for the last time, while Nigerian flag was hoisted on the ship.

    NNS Thunder (which means Aradu in Hausa) is said to be of the same mould with NNS Aradu, Nigerian navy flagship.

    Announcing the new name of the ship, Nigerian Ambassador to US, Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, who led senior defence officials to take possession of the ship, said the transfer would improve Nigeria’s defence capabilities.

    At the event which was also attended by senior officers of the US Coast Guards, Adefuye described Nigeria and US as key strategic partners and noted that the transfer of the ship would further strengthen the bond of friendship between the two countries.

    The envoy, while reiterating that Nigeria and US have similar strategic global objectives, which include the establishment and strengthening of the principles of democracy, rule of law and good government in West Africa and Africa, said with the addition of NNS Thunder to the Nigerian naval fleet, it would help to guarantee and strengthen democracy in the region.

    “When Nigeria makes its views known and back it up with the show of military power, potential dictators and violators of democratic process will think twice in the region,” he said.

    He said the ship would also be put to use in the Gulf of Guinea region to tackle pirates, illegal oil bunkerers, smugglers and other criminals along that axis, so as to guarantee unhindered exploration of the nation’s offshore oil wealth.

    Noting that Nigeria is the largest supplier of oil to US, Adefuye said NNS Thunder would also assist in meeting the nation’s commitment to the US in terms of oil supply.

    He recalled that regional security is one of the focal points of the Nigeria-US Binational Commission, saying the transfer of the ship to Nigerian navy is a key step towards realising that objective.

    In his remarks shortly before handing over the ship to Nigeria, Commander, US Coast Guard Pacific Area, Vice Admiral Manson Brown, recalled that US Coast Guard had in the past transferred four 180 foot buoy tenders to Nigeria.

    Reviewing what he called the long and distinguished history of CGC Chase (now NNS Thunder), he said, “Today, we amplify our pride with the legacy of Coast Guard Cutter CHASE, and extend that pride as this ship begins a new term of service under the capable leadership of our close friends and professional mariners from Nigeria.”

    He said, specifically over the last five years, US Coast Guard has hosted 35 resident training courses for their Nigerian shipmates, and recently hosted reciprocal port visits to strengthen international port security partnership. He described the Nigerian Navy as sailors whose core values of integrity, professionalism and teamwork closely match with US Coast Guard concepts of honor, respect and devotion to duty.

    The ship, which would have I50 officers and ratings on board, is expected to depart for Nigeria in July and arrive in September.

    Present at Friday’s event were Chief of Logistics, Nigerian Navy, Admiral Aminu Ikioda (who represented the chief of naval staff), from the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Abiodun Salami, Captain of NNS Thunder (F90), Navy Captain Mohammed Najenu, and Commander, Fleet Support Group, Nigerian Navy, Commodore Sylvanus Chinueuba

  8. My thank goes to the president of nigeria,who is president Good Luck Jothan ,vice president of nigeria,senate president,the speaker of house of representative i will not forget my chief of naval staff and every one that contribute for these grate history that will never forget in the history of GRATE NIGERIA,may ALMIGHT GOD BE WITH U ALL FOR THIS HISTORY.As a member of NNS THUNDER we promise all NIGERIAN that we will make them proud and we will bring HER HOME.ONWARD TOGETHER.

  9. fred says:

    The HAMILTON was acquired by the Philippine Navy and re-named BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15). The ship was transferred to the PN on May 13, 2011 in Alameda, CA and is due to sail to the Philippine in July. Philippine Navy personnel were training aboard the CGC Boutwel since February of this year.

    • beegeagle says:

      That is correct, Fred.

      The sister ship of the Chase – the Hamilton – was transferred to the Philippines Navy. It has been rechristened the Gregorio del Pilar (PF 15) and is the flagship of that country’s Navy.

      Two USCG WHECs of the same Hamilton-class are slated for decommissioning in 2011. One of those will probably be joining the Nigerian Navy fleet as the country’s third frigate.

      • xnur44 says:

        I stand to be corrected; I think that late passage of Fiscal Budget 2011 and appointment of Finance Minister is a factor in the delay of NNS Thunder departure to Nigeria. There are no special monetary provisions for NNS Thunder in the 2010 Budget so Funds is sought from the allocated Defense budget for 2011.

      • beegeagle says:

        That is correct, XNur. The 2011 budget for the Nigerian Navy however makes provision for the acquisition of TWO of the Hamilton-class warships.

        As you well know,the Obama administration has given approval for the transfer of a second Hamilton-class ship to the Nigerian Navy.

  10. Victor O. Teves says:

    July 21,2011

    Thank you very much beegeagle for the correction.

    NNS Aradu by the way refers to the MEKO 360 Type H1 Frigate and NNS Thunder F90 refers to the just newly acquired USCGC Chase.

    Victor O. Teves
    Iligan City, Philippines

  11. Sebastine Ejiofor says:

    It’s good as this will surely increase the defensive capabilities within Nigeria regions and also
    to couter underway threats . Nigeria forces is improving day by day, but one thing stands unique
    among many Nigeria problem and this’s Military and Civillian relationship. Nigeria military
    oppresses civilians and Nigerian Govt had done nothing to that, it’s very shameful to Nigeria’ image
    overseas. If Nigerian Govt fail to do something to this , am afraid when Nigeria is going to become a
    perfect democratic country. I was an eye witness when a Nigerian Navy Office Arogundele and his
    men nearly killed a lady at Lagos Victorial Island in 2008, when Navy officers vehicle faced oncoming
    traffic and the Lady failed to clear from their way in time.

    • xnur44 says:

      You may not be aware that there exist many rules and regulations and rules of engagement that any personnel in uniform serving in Nigeria military must adhere to. In fact the only liberty they exercise is the free air they breathe. Their orientation and nature of task they are called upon to perform does not require them to behave like a civilian would, just be patient please and give them right of way where possible

  12. uzoh curtis says:

    my country will be + 1 power. love to serve in thunder.

  13. Drago says:

    I congratulate nigeria for their latest aquisition but i’ll recommend they tru to get their hands on some destroyers,aircraft carriers,submarines.etc and also main battle tanks for the army,air defence systems,and also fighter jets like the f-16,f-18s and long range bombers like the us fortress and that other bomber thats flat and triangular in shape,

  14. Ngozi Olu says:

    I wont to know about the pepole that want last year are they coming out

    • beegeagle says:

      The 150-man Nigerian Navy crew returned home on January 6th, 2012 and the ship was commissioned into service(meaning okayed to commence operations) on January 23rd, 2012.

      In other words, Ngozi, they have returned to the country and they are already using the ship for patrol duties in Nigerian waters.

  15. Friday Akpumnonu says:

    As the NN Thunder as been commissioned, has d other water-crafts donated to Nigeria by the US also reached Nigeria? And if they have, have they been commisioned too?

  16. Pingback: Bangladesh Navy getting Hamilton class cutter USCG Dallas (WHEC-716)

  17. Micolo says:

    on NNS Thunder (F90)

    Operational and training costs would be pretty high. She runs on Gas turbines (whole lot of fuel bills I can imagine) !

    Nigerian Navy revel in pride, this is first large surface combatant (at 3,250 tons) since F89 during Shagari days.

    Maintain her well, that is the pride of a ship or any equipment. Chase was 44 years old and seaworthy. May NNS Thunder be on the high seas 15 years from now.

    Even mothballed Battleships of the US Navy like Iowa and Missouri are kept in pristine condition ready to fight again and pound the required enemy with their 16 inch shell fro 20 miles away.

    Congrats also to Nigerian Navy on NNS Andoni. Everything strats from somewhere and with the political climate we have here and the hatred for anything MADE IN NAIJA…..this is nothing short of a miracle. I am proud of the NN………may many more ships come out of her docks. Even for export

    But like I said before…………..MAINTAIN what you have well, keep them running and the flag flying.
    It is well with the NN. Long live NAIJA

    BEEGEAGLE keep it up!

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