11 August, 2013


Gentlemen, here is another view of the pairing between the 1,440 ton Type 056 stealth corvette and Harbin Z-9 helicopter. The Type 056 corvette entered PLA Navy service in May 2012, with the “Bengbu” being the first in its class.

The Type 056 corvette was inspired by the success of the similar-sized US$50 million Pattani class Offshore Patrol Vessels of the Royal Thai Navy which have already seen action with the International Anti-Piracy Task Force offshore Somalia. The Pattani class OPVs(optmised to carry anti-ship missiles) and the Type 056 corvettes possess large helipads from which embarked Harbin Z-9 helicopters can takeoff and land.

Nigeria’s incoming 1,800 ton P18N stealth Offshore Patrol Vessels are enlarged OPV variants of the Pattani OPV/Type 056 corvette which, as far as naval aviation goes, features the added advantage of incorporating fully-fledged hangars from which airframes such as the Agusta A109e Power and more appropriately, the Harbin Z-9EC anti submarine warfare(ASW) helicopter can operate.

The Z-9EC ASW helicopter is a navalised, Chinese-amplified variant of the Eurocopter Dauphin which is available for US$11 million. It is in service with the PLA Navy, Pakistan Navy, among others.

To facilitate optimal lifecycle maintenance and with the Nigerian Navy’s Westland Lynx Mk.89 ASW helicopters now effectively out of service in perpetuity, Beegeagle’s Blog strongly advocates that the Federal Government of Nigeria reach for the right Chinese-built pairing between the Z-9EC ASW helicopters and the P18N stealth OPVs on order.

That would afford the Nigerian Navy Search and Rescue+Anti Submarine Warfare capabilities on one airframe and facilitate one-stop maintenance arrangements whereby both ship and helicopter are availed with logistic support by their Chinese manufacturers.


Indeed, that all-Chinese pairing works much better all round – from the perspective of training and maintenance support – than pairing up an Italian helicopter with a Chinese-built ship. Not to mention the fact that the Chinese are already operating the Type 056 corvette and Z-9 helicopter together on patrol missions in the South China Sea, providing an operational template which can be keyed into wholesale by the Nigerian Navy. Let us do the needful.

By the same token, the Federal Government would do well to consider acquiring Type 056 corvettes to provide ocean-capable successors to the aging fleet of six 58 metre Combattante III and Lurssen missile craft.

The fact that the P18N OPVs were developed from the Type 056 corvette means that from the perspectives of training, maintenance and interoperability, the Type 056 corvette and P18N OPVs would perfectly complement each other – with commonality in operating systems and navtronics, helicopters and replenishable stock.

Let us think about it, Nigerians.

About beegeagle

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


    Z-9WA Armed Multirole Helicopter


  2. Yagazie says:

    General Beegz- nice one. These are the type of vessels/ASW helos that should be purchased for our navy, instead of an emphasis on coastal patrol vessels that cannot patrol our the outer limits of our territorial waters/EEZ talk less of the Gulf of Guinea. Look at our skewed purchasing policy. We have 3 operational Naval commands and yet are only purchasing 2 Type P18N Stealth OPVs. Why can’t our government simply bite the bullet and purchase 6 of these vessels )Type P18N OPVs) and 6 Type 56 Corvettes together with the Harbin Z-9 Helos as illustrated above?- How much will it cost?- in one fell swoop we’d have a proper sea-going blue water Navy with ASW capabilities. Within days of their deployment piracy and illegal oil bunkering will stop!! Any other country that had our resources and pircacy problem as well as our good relationship with China would have done this ages ago. Well lets watch this space….miracles can still happen and maybe our Govt will have a ‘Road to Damascus’ change of heart when it comes to the acquisition of millitary equipment.

  3. Yagazie says:

    Meanwhile Gentlemen and fellow Cyber-Generals, lets HEARTILY CONGRATULATE the Indian Govt and the Indian Navy which today has launched it’s first indigenously built nuclear powered submarine (INS Arihant) a 6,000 tonne vessel with an 80MW pressurised light water reactor that carries 12 ballistic K15 missiles with a range of 750 Km (reactor and missiles – designed and built in India). The vessel (with a crew of 95 personnel) will now embark on 18 months of sea -trials before entering full service .

    The Indian navy is also due to launch today its first indigenously built aircraft carrier -(INS ViKrant) a 40,000 tonne vessel. Lets also not forget that the Indian Navy will at the end of this year (2013) induct a 60,000 tonne aircraft carrier (a former russian heavy cruiser) that is currently undergoing refit/sea-trials in Russia.

    Last month the country also launched the first stage of its £154 million pound domestic satellite navigation network to rival America’s GPS system. This is a country in which the Govt takes pride in its millitary and is determined to ensure that the country has a millitary that reflects it’s status as a rising economic superpower. Our Govt could learn a lesson or two from this development. It is possible to pursue economic growth and millitary expansion at the same time and not hide behind the phrase- competing priorities!!

  4. Yagazie says:

    We either have a Navy or a coastgaurd or better still BOTH.

    On the subject of re-equipping our Navy, the aim should be to enable it operate as a fighting fleet with green/blue water capabilities.

    Thus as part of the medium to long term plans for the upgrade of the Nigerian Navy, serious consideration should also be given to our Naval Air Arm to ensure that they have assets/platorms that would enable them to; (i) have a shore based fixed/rotary wing strike capability operating from dedicated Naval Air Stations (ii) when the LPD’s are purchased, have a rotary wing sea -platform based strike capability (iii) conduct credible and sustained fleet -air defence functions (iv) have maritime reconnaisance capabilities independent of the NAF (v) have anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

    Our Navy should be the PRIDE of Black Africa and should also be a naval force to be reckoned with amongt the naval fleets of the world. Anything less will be unacceptable. Our politicians should begin to see millitary power as an extension of diplomatic/economic power.

  5. CHYDE says:

    Oga Yagazie, our govt have nothing to learn, they KNOW what to do. A good relationship with CHINA, INDIA and RUSSIA, what are we then waiting for, na till them kill foul for them, Haba

    • anas says:

      Our govt is onli gud at kissin american asses ,them no get liver to invest in our military bcos their lords in washington wil be veri upset wit them,so much 4 a soveriegn state !

  6. CHYDE says:

    Meanwhile, congrats to India

  7. Yagazie says:

    On the subject of re-equipping a navy, my fellow Cybergenerals, lets look at Bangladesh in South-East Asia, which is a ‘developing country’ like Nigeria.

    Like Nigeria it is a N-11 (next eleven) nation. Like Nigeria it has a large population (150 million). Like Nigeria it has its problems of proverty and corruption. Like Nigeria it has a large maritime boundry/EEZ extending into the Bay of Bengal. Like Nigeria it has offshore oil, gas and mineral reserves that need to be safeguarde.

    HOWEVER UNLIKE Nigeria, it takes the subject of re-equipping/upgrading its Navy seriously. Thus since 2010 it has signed contracts for the purchase of 11 ships (8 of which are of new construction), consisting of 2 Guided Missile Frigates, 2 Guided Missile Corvettes and 3 OPVs. It has also since 2011 inducted 2 Augusta Westland AW109E Maritime helicopters into its service. as well as purchased 2 Donier 228 NG MPA fixed wing aircraft for Maritime reconnaisance/patrols- one of which has been recently inducted into the service.

    As if that is not enough, it also has serioud proposals/plans to purchase 2 Type 041 submarines for its fleet – as it understands the importance of having submarines (which act as a force mulitiplier/detterent) in its fleet. The Bangladesh Navy already has a frigate (Type 25 Uslan Class Frigate purchased from Korea) as well as a Hamilton Class Vessel (similar to NNS Thunder) obtained from the United States. Are they richer than Nigeria?- Definnitely not!!.

  8. beegeagle says:

    Last time I checked in 2012, the FG of Nigeria ran a bigger budget than the Federal Government of Pakistan and the Government of Bangladesh as well. All three countries have similar population sizes with Nigeria’s being the lowest even at that.

    It is indeed the case that Bangladesh articulated a 10-Year Naval Acquisition Plan at about the same time as Nigeria did in 2009. We have had a Naval Aviation Arm since 1984, Bangladesh have just formed theirs. Nigeria have had Maritime Patrol Aircraft since 1986, Bangladesh have just started theirs with Dornier 228 NGs. Both countries aspire to and articulated the acquisition of submarines in their 10-Year Plans and Bangladesh are seriously looking at the Type 041 submarines. Nigeria sent submarine crews to be trained in Pakistan as long ago as 2008, we have yet to focus on any target. We ignore the attainable and fixate on the elusive.

    Bangladesh have ensured that there are no capability gaps in their surface fleet by continually snapping up new and used ships alike. As they are looking at the possible acquisition of new F22 frigates right now, they have snapped up two used Type 53H2 frigates to plug any gaps for 10-15 years, doing so at bargain prices. They have also now acquired a Hamilton-class ship as have Nigeria and The Philippines. That makes three very useable frigate-type vessels acquired since 2010 from China and the USA.

    Okay, in our Constitution the provision of SECURITY is listed as the foremost reason why governments exist in Nigeria. Yet we have conveniently perfected the practice of hiding behind ‘competing demands’ to shortchange ourselves as far as military acquisitions go. On the list of competing demands, how – at a time like this and against constitutional precepts – does DEFENCE and SECURITY appear to be the very lowest of our priorities?

    Well, you mentioned India. They face the same challenges of defending that country, internally and externally, in tandem with putting in place infrastructure. But their defence needs still take pride of place. It is the case that THOUSANDS of communities in India still exist without amenities such as electricity, tarred roads and pipeborne water. Never mind Pakistan and Bangladesh whose governments are clearly not as financially buoyant as ours.So what really is the problem with us?
    The same Bangladesh which you deservedly mentioned have placed an order for two Type 056 corvettes, elongated by 10 metres to allow for a hangar instead of the typical helipad on this stealth ship. With that mix of three used frigates and two new corvettes, five oceangoing ships have been netted for roughly US$200 million.

    It gets better. They have also now placed orders for two Z-9EC helicopters, almost certainly intended for the Type 056 corvettes and have just built two 600-ton 64m FAC-class missile patrol boats: BNS Durjoy (P811) and BNS Nirmul(P812) in China. They have also completed the construction of two new 350-ton 50 metre Padma-class FACs (3 more under construction) at their own Khulna Shipyard in Bangladesh. Note that even as they also operate Agusta A109e Power helos like we do, they have placed an order for two Z-9EC ASW helos to go with their Type 056 corvettes – like I suggested that we should for our P18N stealth OPVs.

    My question is – if we have already paid for two P18N stealth OPVs and our Ten Year Plan stipulates the acquisition of 20 OPVs plus corvettes, LPDs and submarines, WHAT stopped us at a time like this from accessing Preferential Buyers Credit from China EXIM Bank and acquiring many more platforms? For US$450 million, we could easily get

    – three new Type 056 corvettes
    – an additional P18N stealth OPV
    – six Harbin Z-9EC ASW helicopters
    – one free refurbished Type 53H2 frigate
    – twelve Hongdu L15 Falcon AT/LA jets

    And while we are at it, it is not too late to make provisions for a 2-cell C803 SSM launcher and a 6-cell FM90 SAM launcher on the P18N OPVs – just like their Thai cousins of the Pattani class carry 2-cell Harpoon SSM launchers. The suggested Z-9EC helos would carry torpedoes to give us an OPV and a corvette rolled into one. We need to smell the coffee and quit all the posturing about innocuous intentions. It is unreal and smacks of timidity. The world does not work that way.



    • CHYDE says:

      One problem I have noticed over time is the ability of successive govts to come up with wonderful ideas on paper, giving the ideas a breath of life becomes the issue

    • Max Montero says:

      HI General Beeg! My thoughts exactly. Our countries both have the resources to embark on a real-deal defence upgrade and modernization that the countries you mentioned. But why there’s no commitment and action on both our governments to spend more? Nigeria is even lucky to have China’s financial institutions backing-up the upgrade plans.


  9. beegeagle says:

    Admiral Max on the West Philippines Sea! I salute you.

    Tell me, there are seven Oliver Hazard Perry frigates up for grabs, supposedly at a unit cost of US$20 million each and I hear that The Philippines would be looking at them for real. How so? Are they not going to be bare-boned – stripped of all consequential systems on board? As is customary for decommissioned US frigates, I am sure that Turkey, Taiwan and Egypt would be looking to grab some of those.

    For Nigeria, I would say ‘let us not bother with those’. The US strip their ships of too many ‘sensitive’ systems. Better we go straight for the German Type 122A frigates. Those are highly interoperable with the NNS Aradu which was also made by the same Blohm+Voss.

    • Max Montero says:

      Hi General Beeg! Its great to be back here! So you’ve heard about it as well? Let’s just say 7 is a bit too much, and its too early to say. But the possibility of getting an OHP or 2 is there. The $20M you saw, I assume you took it from the Taiwanese/Chinese news? If the US will provide these OHP-class frigates to the Philippines, it would surely be as EDA grants as opposed to the Taiwanese which will get theirs by FMS, but it is best to look at the Pakistani deal for the former USS McInerney (FFG-8) as a template. American FMF paid around $58.7M for the ship’s “refurbishing, machinery & sonar overhaul, and new navigation suite”, plus $6.5M for training the ship crew. There was no stripping involved as this is the American’s ruling for warships, although the Hamilton-class was an exception because of the USCG’s specific request for them to retain the Phalanx, Mk. 38 guns, the ASR and SSR/Navigation Radars. So the Pakistanis got the ship “as-is”, but since it’s Mk.13 arm missile launcher is out for some time (for the entire OHP-class), then it doesn’t have missile systems.

      It’s not the purchase cost that worries Philippine defense planners, but the maintenance and operation of the ships. The OHP-class consumes more than 3 times fuel than the Hamilton-class on cruising speeds, just imagine you could operate 3 WHECs for patrols at the same time for the same amount as having an OHP do the patrols. So most still prefer either a CODOG ship like Maestrale and Soldati classes or another WHEC. Any news about Nigeria’s request for USCGC Gallatin? There is a chance the Philippines will again be in the market for another WHEC, so there’s possibility conflict with Nigeria for some ships.

      No news on the F122. Some sources indicate that the Germans scrapped the first units that were decommissioned, wondering why they did not put it up for sale. Any news if the Germans will be offering the other units for sale, or they prefer scrapping them?

      As for the Hamiltons, the ex-Dallas is going to drydock for repainting, hull repair and light weapons fitting, and probably will be commissioned by late September or early October. That’s all for now, still confirming a lot of reports coming in about Pohang-class ships, still early to say but some of my sources mentioned this a lot.


  10. beegeagle says:

    Admiral Max of the Seven Seas! Greetings. Your post was highly explanatory and laden with information to the max. Thank you. With allies such as yourself, Admiral Rufus Rastus of the USA and Colonel Emeritus Eeben Barlow of South Africa, who needs enemies?

    Frankly, the Gallatin is conclusively gone. Remember, ever before news emerged from the NN officially, we had informed readers about the offer all of six weeks in advance of the CNS’s proclamation. Thanks to Beegeagle’s Bloggers who have firm hands on the USA buttons. It was an offer which the NN are taking up and they are preparing for the due diligence pursuant to that quest – ship inspection etc. They also got a 2,500+ ton ex-USN ship coming to them.

    🙂 So any ‘conflict of interest’ with the Philippine Navy would only come if a third WHEC comes up for grabs. I am aware that Morocco were interested in the USCGC Jarvis, so they might have to be factored into the projections. Possibly Thailand as well.

    The unique thing about the Hamilton-class is the extreme endurance which it embodies. At about 15 knots, it would deliver 26,000km on a full tank and that, my friend, makes her the only ship in Africa today which is able to complete a total circumnavigation of Africa’s 26,000 km coastline without refuelling.Incredible stuff really.

    With such credentials, countries which seek to maintain a continuous presence at sea but do not have an adequate number of platforms would no doubt covet the big lady to no end.

    Concerning fuel consumption, the OHP frigates are merciless gas guzzlers then. Three times as much as a comparably sized WHEC! That is obscene for real.
    Last time I checked, it cost US$1 million to fill up the tank of the NNS Thunder (thirty 33,000 litre truckloads). But for extended patrols on a continuing basis, that would deliver more than a dozen end-to-end return voyages along Nigeria’s coastline and that means she factually does not need more than US$2.5-3 million worth of diesel to stay afloat and on patrol inside Nigeria, all year round. To think that an OHP frigate with about a quarter of a WHEC’s endurance consumes so much fuel ! That means, you might need US$25 million worth of diesel if you have to push an OHP frigate as hard as a WHEC.

    So if Nigeria need even one OHP frigate, she might not be able to undertake more than one end-to-end return voyage within Nigerian waters every quarter if fuelled at a cost of US$3 million annually.

    As for the Pohang corvettes, well I told you that they are bound to come in a cascade soon enough. They pack a real punch. If the Nigerian Navy could get three of those, I would suggest that they knock off one of the big guns aft to allow for a helipad. They are roughly similar in size to the Type 056 corvette.

    • Max Montero says:

      Hi General Beeg! Thanks for the warm welcome as always!

      Good for Nigeria if the Gallatin is indeed confirmed. Although there is interest in the Philippine Navy for a 3rd WHEC, this is still unconfirmed as there seems to be an “internal conflict” in the defense department and navy if they would push through with an up-arming program for the 2 WHECs or will they get a 3rd and possibly a 4th WHEC.

      As for the OHP, the initial information I’ve got (which I can’t post in the blog yet since I want to avoid unconfirmed reports there for now) is that the Americans are offering them as a grant, a minimum of 2 units will be allocated for the Philippines, but its up to the PH government to accept the offer. But what really makes the deal sour is that monstrous all gas turbine propulsion.

      As for the WHEC uparming, no confirmation yet but it appears that the navy is pushing for a 3rd party to do the upgrades, not the Americans. But the American offer will be considered should there be some technicalities regarding 3rd party upgrades for EDA’s like the 2 WHECs we have.

      I’ll get back to you on the Pohangs….


      • Max Montero says:

        To continue, the Pohangs are actually expected to be released only when sufficient Incheon class frigates come online,, but surprises come ones in a while. It appears that the PH government is pushing for Pohangs to be released earlier in return for sales of Koreans arms to the PH. So far our defense department is preparing for the signing of FA-50 contract, and the Koreans are offering a whole lot more, with 2 Korean bidders for the small LPD project (SSV) which is discussed in my blog today. But my sources indicate that there was a request to transfer the Pohangs to the PN as soon as they’re available.


  11. beegeagle says:

    Nice one, Max.

    Had my sights set on the Pohang corvettes for a few years now – as far as complementary used assets go. Plucky options.

    Hopefully, the Nigerian FG can tie up a decent US$175 million deal for two Makassar LPDs and three used units of Pohang corvettes. Add to that a US$90 million deal for two ex-German Type 122A frigates and a US$225m deal for three new Type 056 corvettes and we have an instant greenwater navy for a little under US$500 million in cash transactions and preferential buyers credit.

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