An array of participating ships at EXERCISE FARAUTA led by a 1,041 ton Cat class logistics ship/patrol vessel, followed behind and flanked to the right by a pair of stealth Suncraft Sea Eagle Mk.II Offshore Patrol Craft. The Suncraft ships were designed in Germany and built by Suncraft of Singapore

Two Cat class logistics ships obscure a Suncraft Sea Eagle Mk.II Offshore Patrol Craft from view

One of the four 1,041 ton Cat class logistics ships/patrol vessels of the Nigerian Navy, transferred by the U.S Coast Guard in 2003. They boast a crossing range of 22,000 kms, exceeded in Africa only by the 26,000 kms crossing range of the NNS Thunder F90, also transferred to the Nigerian Navy by the US Coast Guard, entering service in January 2012

Naval gunners man a Suncraft RALCO (Remote and Locally Controlled) 20mm CIWS


About beegeagle

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


  1. doziex says:

    It is clear that this is a navy that is hampered by the lack of platforms. See how much these WW2 US buoy tenders are featuring in nigerian naval operations.

    2 chinese and 4 indian OPVs are supposed to be providing relief in what, 2 ? 3? 4? years time ?

    I am just trying to say that the NN has not made the best use of it’s budgeted/available resources to sustain naval operations.

    We at beegeagle’s blog have screamed ourselves hoarse, with suggestions that NN brass be gung ho about acquiring the retired south korean Pohang class corvettes.

    The US navy is currently retiring 24 guided missile frigates of the Oliver hazard perry class.

    LSTs , replenishment ships and even LPDs- Landing platform docks with helicopter carrying decks are for sale to allies for next to nothing.

    Case in point, the indian navy got one used LPD for 50 million usd, and are on the hunt for another.

    With a budget of 400 million usd in 2012, the NN can definitely do better in the used platform market.

    How come equatorial guinea that barely has a navy, is well versed on this subject than nigeria with it’s long naval institutional history ?

    This is an issue our many naval officers sitting at the naval HQ should be discussing and strategizing on a daily basis.

    Duty calls gentlemen, less partying/ceremonies and more business of running a potent and functional fleet.

    CNS admiral dele Ezeoba has rightfully demanded that the politicians provide adequate and realistic funding for platform repair, acquisition and operation. But if NN was apportioned 400 million usd in 2012, and didn’t acquire any of the aforementioned used platforms, what can be said for that ?

  2. Henry says:

    I could not agree more. The navy is in dire need of modern platforms. We are not in 1939 anymore. We can’t have a situation were politicians drive around in the latest bullet proof suv’s while the navy continuously runs around in a world war 2 relic. These logistics ships ought to be cooling off at the national museum in lagos by now. Not impressed at all.

    However in the area of light and medium crafts the navy has done pretty well, these ships out to have been retired by now, and new replacements gotten.

    • Acting Major Benbella says:

      I think the problem the navy has with its yearly budgetary allocation is that less of that money is actually released to them. This appears to be the problem with the other branches of the armed forces and the ministries.

      A capital intensive branch of the armed forces as the navy is, requires long term planning for acquisitions and so will need to know what it’s yearly allocations will be for the next 10 or more years. Outside of that knowledge, the navy’s planning and acquisitions will be ad hoc and done without careful deliberation. Unlike the army or the Air Force, it takes many years to build a navy and establish a tradition.

      It is depressing to see the Nigerian navy as are its other security branches continue to incubate while its adversaries devise sophisticated challenges for them. The gradualist approach to equipping our military has not delivered the expectations and the assurance of security that Nigeria deserves. It is deeply worrying when the failure to rearm and re-equip our boys and girls is measured against Nigeria’s immediate security threats. These are the Boko Haram religious insurgency, the unresolved Niger-Delta crisis, piracy and oil bunkering, armed robbery and the AQIM/Boko Haram/Malian Islamist in northern Mali. Though, not among the count, we must not forget the presence of American and other countries military presence on or close to our shores as a constraint on our ability to act in defense of national security interests in the future.

      Nigeria’s response to these security challenges has been mediocre at best. It’s navy that once bought such a ship as the Aradu class depends on hand me downs. It’s Air Force is a test bed for relic Chinese fighter planes and its army lacks something as basic as a helicopter wing. I do not mean to be cruel but simply alarmed at what has become of us as a country and as a people. Who is that person amongst us who did not expect great things from Nigeria? Who is really happy with the state of things in the country and the state of our armed forces and its weapon systems and platforms is a an illustrated example of the dysfunction. For example, I read in the paper yesterday that the city of Auchi on Edo state, a city I had spent part of my honorable school years in was besieged for three hours by a gang of bandits until they completed what they had come for. It begs the question, where were the security operatives? Where were the brave men and women of the city to pick up arms and go defend their honor and their city?

      The problem may be partly due to lack of funds since Nigeria does not have enough money to address all or most of its critical needs. But in proper perspective, the lack of money is the least problem we have. The wholesale absence of national leaders with vision and strategic planning is our foremost problem. And has been for many, many years. A people whose leadership lack vision, the Bible warns us for many years, will perish. Take action.

  3. beegeagle says:

    All of those ships would be in by or before 2015. The contract for Type 056 stealth corvette-OPVs was signed in April 2012 and that for Pipavav OPVs, close replicas of the TIGR corvettes, would almost certainly be signed in pairs of two – with the first signed between now and Easter 2012.

    Come 2015, we would six brand-new 95-105m 1800-2250 ton corvette/OPVs in service. That is without prejudice to any new contracts which could be signed before then…such as a mix of six Knud Rasmussen and Damen 8313 OPVs.

    I do agree with Doziex that we should right now be in the hunt for used qualitative ships. The Korean Pohang class, very well-armed corvettes, come to mind. Ditto the Type 053 frigates which the Chinese are pushing in CoastGuard service.

    I doubt that it would cost us more than US$175m for two Type 053 and three Pohang corvettes which shall partially fulfill EEZ patrol and fighting ship requirements until 2025, by which time they would have more than justified the investment.

    We should just forget about any used LPD and pounce on a pair of spanking new Makassar-class LPDs@US$100 million.

    @Major Benbella. Clear articulation of the constraints there. It is the case that our budget implementation and completion rates bespeak tardiness. Little wonder the National Assembly were up in arms against the Executive for much of this year ref the same matter.

    They need to wake up. I personally would love to see hardware procurement for all defence and security forces shifted to the Office of the NSA and freed up from the bottlenecks of a dead bureaucracy. By the same token, all monies intended for hardware procurment must be released to the ONSA within 90 days of the FG budget being signed into law.

    • tim says:

      You people in this blog love tokumbo a lot… against it…… We have the time and resources to get the best and latest, till then, we can use the platforms we have in our EEZ!!!

      • doziex says:

        Oga tim, tukumbo in the place of nothing is plenty. If it weren’t for the US old gifted ships, we would have nothing that is blue water capable now.

        By making due with used/ cheaper weaponry, we would give our pilots, midshipmen, Tank and artillery men the wherewithal to at least train, and keep their skill sets sharp.

        Refurbished, used attack jets such as the SU-25 or long range striker SU-24 would keep our airforce potent and trained while our USELESS politicians decide what they want to do with our moribound state of affairs.

        Go to youtube, and you would see footage of how the SPLA stormed heglig oil fields with used ukrainian T-72 tanks and other equipment.

        A combination of used and brand new equipment, is transforming the UPDF to one of africa’s best mechanized forces alongside ethiopia.

        We in nigeria, we don’t want to spend on used stop gap measures, we don’t want to spend on new equipment either. We want manner from heaven to solve all our problems.

        Well, it ain’t gon happen.

        And if as @ major ben bella is saying, that our civilian politicians have become brazen enough to steal from, or missappropriate the already paltry military budget, by not releasing the little they have allocated by law, stay tuned fellas, another military coup might be in nigeria’s near future.

    • Max Montero says:

      Usually, 2nd hand units being offered for cheap by countries include some contract agreements that may include refurbishment/upgrade with the supplier’s home country, just like when Indonesia got their F-16s (the US required them to upgrade to either Block 35 or Blk 50/52 from Block 25) or when the Philippines got the Maestrales (refurbishing was somehow required, as well as an upgrade program) which eats up time and more money (additional budget from baseline unit cost). When Nigeria got the NNS Thunder it took almost a year from contract signing, training, hand-over, etc to delivery to Nigeria. But still, getting used items is the fastest way to obtain defense articles and put them to service rather than buying a new one (big ships usually take at least 2 years earliest, to 4 years).

      A mix of new and used is the best way, while waiting for the new ones to be built, a used one can be put to service, then can be used as force multipliers later on. Europe & US have a lot of excess defense articles that Nigeria can choose from. If you look at both our country’s navies, we almost have a similar requirement: capable ships we can deploy now + modern ships we need to deploy in the future. Besides Nigeria and Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand, as well as Malaysia are having the same options, with Thailand and Malaysia probably going for Perry class frigates, while Indonesia going for the Nagodha Ragam corvettes of Brunei.

      So far the Koreans are said to not have offered their Pohangs yet except for the unit they’re sending to Colombia.



      • doziex says:

        You are right max, excess defense articles is usually a long story, when dealing with the west. However, with the chinese and ex soviet bloc, it is a different story.

        We have heard how the ethiopian airforce ordered, and had it’s su-27s delivered,in 60 days flat.

        On the south korean pohangs, i believe that they are being snatched up quicker than you realise.

        The story is that equatorial guinea has designs on 3 refurbished examples. colombia, and I thought the philipines, have already been gifted one ship each.

        Add these 5 ships to the one that was torpedoed by pyongyang, and 2 more unservieable ones, you are left with 16 ships of the original 24.

        There is just a glut of new and used platforms, and no excuse for a nation with the money to go unprotected. Especially one with multiple crisis that require urgent attention.

      • Max Montero says:

        Doziex, the news regarding the “gifting” of a Pohang class corvette to the PN is not true, although we hoped it was. Don’t get me wrong, but so far no other news came in my side of this world re. Equatorial Guinea’s request for 3 Pohang classes other than the news from 2010~2011 of meeting bet. SK & EQ’s presidents, Besides the 2 Flt.1 units and the sunken Cheonan, all 21 Pohangs are still in active service. We in the PH are also monitoring the release of these ships as the PN is believed to be interested in getting some if they are made available. Don’t you think the EQ is not getting Pohangs but probably the older Donghae class corvettes?

        BTW, if you’re looking at fast-delivery EDA’s, China may have some spare Jianghu II class frigates up for grabs, we’re expecting China to release some for friendly countries (Nigeria may be one of them) for cheap. Myanmar recently received 2 units of Jianghu III class ships.

        Feel free to give your insights, its already 1:30am in my place hehehe…thanks


  4. Spirit says:

    Great patriots,
    Its just sheer misplacement of priorities, ‘tunneled-vision’ and ignorance by our leaders.

    I have heard a senator asking what the Air Force needs new fighter jets for when we still have Mig-21 Fishbirds in Markurdi!. That is a gross display of IGNORANCE by a senator. It is obvious that that senator does not understand the fact that a frontline fighter of the 1970’s (which the Mig-21 wasnt at that time) will just be used for target practise in present day.

    GEJ has just annonced that a new banquet hall will be constructed ion Aso Rock at a cost of N2.2Billion. Also, the FG plans to spend N6.5Billion to SENSITISE THE PUBLIC about the Petroleum Industry Bill, while just about N100Million is budgeted to buy spare parts for a ship that will guard/protect that same Petroleum Industry!

    Our leaders are suffereing from what I call “It-cant-happen-here” syndrome. None of them was in favour of modernising the military/police until Boko Haram started bombing. They see no reason why the Navy should acquire modern platforms in their numbers now.They can’t just see beyond their noses. Just wait until a nation launches a naval attack on Nigeria. Then you will see “Traffic-jam” of the latest warships on our coast, even subs go dey jam each other for want of space.

    I pray that such a day will not come.

    Let us learn from the experience of the USA during Operation AI on Dec 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbour.

    Its always better to learn from history than from experience.

    • doziex says:

      Well said Oga spirit.

      But we have plenty of our recent history to learn from in liberia and sierra leone.

      We have the humiliating lost battles, dead and wounded soldiers, dead and maimed civillians, loss in national prestige and we are still not interested in learning the lessons of unpreparedness.

    • The last part of ur statement is very funny but true but u also fail to add that in the case of such a naval attack, useless platforms too at outrageous prices will also flood or naval bases!

  5. tim says:

    igeria’s two aircraft(AtR 42 MPA) are undergoing re-fits with a ku-band satellite communication system, with work expected to be completed in July and November 2011……. Well am a geographer and a soldier., so who can please shed more light on satellite…………………. ,

    • The “microwave” part of the electromagnetic spectrum is divided into bands of frequencies. Nautical radars run in S or X band for instance. SatComm (IMARSAT, etc) USED to run mostly in C band, but those “birds” are being phased out. Ku band allows higher data transmission rates, and smaller antennas. The SatComm on those airplanes will PROBABLY be used to transmit imagery from their onboard sensors back to a Command Center, to be integrated with other input (radar from the THUNDER, from coastal radar stations, satellite imagery, etc). Decades ago, I helped build a Ku-Band radar that flew on the Space Shuttle.

      • tim says:

        Wow, nice…….are you nigerian?

      • beegeagle says:

        That is spot on, Rastus. This is supposed to link the ships,OPS rooms of the NHQ and DHQ and the Surveyor planes. Appropriation for this project was made in 2011 and 2012. Ditto OPVs and the refurbishment of C130 Hercules planes.

      • Oga Tim,

        We are all, all men, everywhere, Out Of Africa. But the closest I’ve ever been to Abuja or River State is my friend’s shop, that sells Kola nuts, meat pies, stockfish and alligator peppers 😉


      • jimmy says:

        From what i can discern from the technical language being spoken there will be a commom frequency( language of communication operation) between the upgraded c-130s, the ATRs and the NN thunder.
        OGA TIM much as i concur with you about buying hands down , right now unfortunatley this is what we have. The ARADU took four years to be built and nigerian sailors i believe were there from start to finish. A mordern destroyer/ ops will take two to three years for a goverment that shows the will power and long term outlook, this is where we are.
        This is why we have to embrace the attitude of MAINTEANANCE.
        obj did not buy any ships ( that is eight years of nothing) SURE ships were repaired but there were no spanking brand new 1000 – 2000 TON WARSHIPS. This is called catch up .There is much to criticise about G.E.J. but remember if you do when he does do something we have to praise him with the same intensity and he has done a lot more than his two past presidents combined is it enough ? no it is not but the process has been started let us on this blog keep the progress on going.

      • @ Jimmy, that would be ideal. It hadn’t occurred to me that the upgraded/refurbished C-130s would be use for surveillance vice their usual transport role, but many navies and coast guards have used them that way for decades. Data interchange between sensor platforms is also decades old, take a look at “Link 11” on Google. It may or may not involve a satellite link, and it can also be done at Radio Frequencies, albeit at lower bandwidth.

  6. beegeagle says:

    Tim, that is the only way that you can meet requirements while waiting for ships to be built and it helps to shore up the numbers.

    China estimate that they need an oceangoing vessel to man 1,000 nautical sq mile of sea. How many would be need for 84,000 nautical sq miles – even if we raised the AOR size to 2,500 sq. nm?

    Turkey, Singapore, Greece(before the crash), Egypt, Pakistan, Taiwan all have first call on USED US Navy ships, alongside acquiring new-build ships. Just check the fleets and see.

    Real routes to the attainment of an end!

    • From the US law on Excess Defense Article transfers (citation
      “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the delivery of excess defense articles under this section to member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the southern and southeastern flank of NATO, to major non-NATO allies on such southern and southeastern flank, and to the Philippines shall be given priority to the maximum extent feasible over the delivery of such excess defense articles to other countries.”

      No mention of Taiwan or Singapore or Pakistan. There is further law that says the US has to balance Greek and Turkish interests, without actually saying that 😉

      This part of the law notwithstanding, I think odds are good that THUNDER will have a sistership some time in the future.

      • beegeagle says:

        Yeah, The Philppines have had that ‘special military relationship’ with the USA (can’t believe I skipped Philippines on that list); the Greece-Turkey balancing act is all too obvious while real politik somehow means that Taiwan, Singapore and Pakistan – perhaps a tradition dating back to the Cold War era collaboration and with Sino-Soviet calculations in mind, have somehow ended up with ex-US Navy frigates and destroyers.

      • Max Montero says:

        Beeg, the PH is indeed a major non-NATO ally. But so far we have not exercised our option to get US arms besides the Hamiltons, Paveway II LGB and Huey helicopters for this new round of purchases. The PH government is balancing its sources by getting the best deals from Europe as US materials, as you said in previous posts, are expensive. There is also an unconfirmed “snob” by the PH government on buying US arms over the F-16 deals (unconfirmed reports say that the PH got a less preferable deal than Indonesia with regards to EDA F-16s as PH was only offered the older Blk.20 while Indonesia got Blk.25, a reason why PH declined the deal). Singapore never got ex-US ships other than the WW2 LST’s it got in the 70s. Is Pakistan still a major non-NATO ally, after all that bungle-up with their ally Osama?


      • jimmy says:

        Relationships have cooled considerably since the OSAMA fiasco to make matters worse:
        1) we ( AMERICA ) left a trail of evidence helio REMAINS
        2) Pakistani’s insistent denials which i don’t think anyone in America believed
        3) Outgoing JCOS ADMIRAL MULLEN’S last visit to congress where he RUBBISHED THE PAKISTANI SECRET SERVICE as being in cahoots with the Taliban( THEY ARE THE SAME)
        4) The killing of Pakistani soldiers by AMERICA
        4) Yes America in order to get its goods to its soldiers has to have A WORKING relationship with PAKISTAN but i doubt very much that they are regarded AS GREAT NON NATO ALLIES
        again this is IMHO

      • Max Montero says:

        jimmy, the cooling down of relations between the US and Pakistan plus the pullout of US troops from Afghanistan plus the surge of India as a partner of the US, and Pakistan for sure will be left out from the US’ alliance circle. The only problem the US might encounter is that Pakistan was armed by the US with the latest gear, and dropping support on them might entail Pakistan to get more support from China, and Pakistan might provide China with essential technology from US-made equipment like F-16 engines/parts.

  7. triqqah says:

    2 atr 42 MPA is insufficient to effectively patrol our coastline. Nigeria is a giant of Africa only by population and not by military, economic or political strength, and dat is a bitter pill to swallow. I wonder which military brass came up with d idea to buy the chengdu jian-7 airguard. It shows how clueless they really are,
    F-7s are the chinko (chinese) versions of the mig 21s which is a 2nd or 3rd generation Soviet fighter depending on model. I tire 4 dis contrey wen I heard about the acquisition in 2005, shebi 3 has been lost out of 15, an aircraft Indian pilots has nicknamed ‘the flying coffin’ it has killed a 100+ of their pilots. We need to set our head straight by buying real weapons not toys buy now we should hav gone beyond arguing which aircraft to buy but be talking about how to deploy our theatre ballistic or air launch cruise missiles strategically. Remember we are now 52 years and we all know the saying ‘ A fool at 40…’

    • @ Triqqah: a review of Maritime Patrol Aircraft and forces in Asia.
      I agree, the Nigerian fleet looks a little light, but not as insanely inadequate as either Vietnam or the Philippines. It could be worse…

      WRT to the F-7s, I’ll make the positive case for them: their maintenance, while labor intensive, does not require a high degree of sophistication, technique, or infrastructure. I’ve seen Mig-21s up close, and was surpised by how crude they were. If Nigeria can build T-16s, T-18s, they can maintain F-7s, in my opinion, and the proof is there. And yet, for not much outlay, from a willing seller w/o much discrimination, you get a Mach 2 interceptor that is also a passable air-to-ground fighter/bomber. Plus, Nigeria already had experience with Mig-21s, AND was emerging from a period of military neglect. So, walk before you run, eh? The beautiful, expensive Tornados were parked in less than 8 years – they could not be supported under the conditions of the time. The Mig-21s ran on, until the F-7s replaced them, and it looks like Nigeria can organically support them for the foreseeable future.

      The exact variant of the F-7 Nigeria received is not clear to me. The Pakistanis put a lot of development work into the F-7 in team with the Chinese, and the wings of the F-7M and later versions made a big improvement in handling. The Mig-21s flown by the Indian Air Force are getting better electronics, but never had, never got, the aerodynamic improvements of the later Chinese knock-offs. Lots of those Indian pilots were killed while low and slow, landing for instance, and the low speed handling of the F-7M and later variants is apparently vastly better. Still, it appears that all 3 of the Nigerian two seat trainers have been lost? Low speed handling is probably still far from faultless, even if they did get the “good” wing.

      But Beeg and others have made the case for something better still, and made it well.

  8. beegeagle says:

    D-E-S | In reply to Rufus Rastus (@RufusRastus).

    @ Rufus Rastus….What you write is
    interesting but your luck of culture is
    annoying…who’s a Paki? Who’s a Chinko/Chink?…both this names are derogatory tantamount to them referring to me as a ‘Nigger’ as a means of literal expression, take your time to think about it

  9. Max Montero says:

    Beeg, the Philippines still have Balsam class (Cat class) ship as a navigational aid tender/auxiliary escort but is operated by the coast guard, not the navy. This is BRP Kalinga (AG-89), formerly the USCGC Redbud (WLB-398)

    • beegeagle says:

      Nice one, Max.

      Looks like the cabin has even been modified. So we have two ship classes in common – the Balsam/Cat class and the Hamilton class 🙂

      • Max Montero says:

        Probably in the near future you can add the French-made Osea-type patrol crafts as we believe this is the type ordered by the Philippine Coast Guard just last October…

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