A Chinese PLA Navy Type 056 stealth corvette with her embarked Harbin Z-9 helicopter on the flight deck


In the absence of real photos, we can only project towards the shape of things to come as it pertains to what our Nigerian Navy’s incoming P18N stealth Offshore Patrol Vessels shall look like.

The 1,440 ton missile armed Pattani-class OPVs of the Royal Thai Navy can rightly be described as the naval ship which inspired the idea of constructing the ultramodern Type 056 family of stealth platforms.

Inspired by the plucky and versatile OPVs which they built for the Thai Navy, the Chinese, desirous of inducting a new class of OPV-light frigate able to operate in relatively shallow waters and in the deep offshore zone alike, came up with the Type 056 design which drew extensively on the design of the Pattani-class.

The most significant difference between the Pattani-class missile OPVs and the Type 056 corvette whose design it inspired, can be said to be the possession of flight decks and hangars on the Pattani-class OPV whereas the Type 056 corvette only features a flight deck.

The PLA Navy of China commenced the induction into service of these beautiful ships in 2012. Since then, orders for derivatives of the standard Type 056 modular design have been received from Nigeria and Bangladesh.

The Bangladeshis seek to own two units of the Type 056 corvette but have requested amendments to the basic design of the Type 056 corvette as pictured above. The Bangladeshis want their corvettes modified to incorporate hangars which is no9-existent on the standard Type 056 design. This plan to incorporate would thus see the Bangladesh Navy’s variant of Type 056 corvette lengthened by ten (10) metres to create space for the envisaged hangars.

Like the Chinese, the Bangladesh Navy which has just kickstarted the operations of her new Navy Air Arm with the acquisition of Agusta A109e Power helicopters and Dornier Do 228NG MPA surveillance planes, have also placed an order for two units of Harbin Z-9C naval helicopters which shall almost certainly be embarked on the incoming Type 056 corvettes.

The Nigerian Navy also have two units of Type 056 platforms on order but this time, stealth Offshore Patrol Vessel variants. Bearing the unique Nigerian designation of “P18N OPVs”, the Nigerian ships shall also be lengthened to allow for the construction of aircraft hangars and are expected to weigh in at a heavier 1,800 tons – as compared to the 1,440 ton displacement which are typical for the Thai Navy’s Pattani-class OPVs and the Chinese PLA Navy’s Type 056 corvettes.

Pictured above is the most vivid shot yet seen by this writer of a ship and helicopter pairing involving a Type 056 corvette or OPV derivative. It should be of interest to Nigerians.

Informed Nigerian sources suggest that the long-stored Lynx Mk.89 naval helicopters of the Nigerian Navy Air Arm which can be armed with torpedoes, are about now undergoing upgrades and are due for delivery sometime in March 2014.

The timing of that delivery, coming so close as it were to the expected delivery date of the first P18N OPV to the Nigerian Navy and in the absence of any known orders for complementary Harbin Z-9 helicopters, could imply that upgraded Lynx ASW helicopters might be embarked on the incoming Nigerian OPVs.

Interesting times and pairings appear to be in the loop for Nigerians versed in observing the ways of their resurgent navy.

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:

    While we are building the enlarged OPV variants of this ship, I believe we should as well consider the following

    * the Pattani-class missile OPVs, complete with flight decks and hangars, each cost the Thai Navy US$50 million in 2005-2006.

    * Nigeria, having settled for enlarged OPV variants with flight decks and hangars can actually use that template to also build our own P18N corvettes with the appropriate panoply of armaments. I believe that we can grab three enlarged Type 056 corvettes for US$200-225 million. If we can make a down payment of US$75 million, China EXIM Bank would grant Preferential Buyers Credit to cover the balance of funds required which can be repaid later, since we now carry about this ‘competing demands’ story everywhere we go like a mental tumour.

    * For the force multiplier effect, I suggest that the FG also get a decommissioned German F122A frigate which like our flagship, was built by Blohm+Voss and would complement our MEKO 360 frigate nicely. I believe that the ex-German ship can be netted for US$50 million with minor refurbishment.

    Let us do the simple and attainable to keep the Nigerian Navy in the right form. Find above a simple US$275 million plan which delivers four fighting ships – a used 3,600 ton German frigate and three spanking new Chinese-built Type 056 corvettes.

    In tandem with law enforcement tasks, the NN must be continually made ready to engage in state on state military action at sea. They undertake both naval and coastguard duties simultaneously and should be equipped for the full spectrum of activities which they bear responsibility for.

    OPVs, frigates and corvettes all required, none to the exclusion of the other.

    Good morning, gentlemen.

  2. beegeagle says:

    There has been no word emanating from either side on the 2,000 ton Pipavav stealth OPVs. But the outlay for a 2+2 OPV deal valued at US$450 million by an unnamed West African customer coming shortly after a delegation from the Nigerian Senate visited India to inspect shipyard facilities suggests that Nigeria are the ‘anonymous customer’

    Again bear in mind the fact that even as the contract for P18N OPVs was signed in April 2012, they were a carried-over transaction acquired through the 2011 budgetary outlay. There had been a plan to acquire some 1,800 ton OPVs from Portugal which were freshly delivered to them but which they could not retain the services of in the wake of cutbacks in Portuguese defence appropriation.

    So Nigeria initially wanted to grab the Portuguese ships but they could not agree on a deal. That was why they moved on to sign the Chinese OPV deal in April 2012, using funds carried over from the 2011 defence budget.

  3. beegeagle says:

    The used German frigate…that we surely need. I recall that while the Dutch shunned an Indonesian bid for warships in the 1990s and used Leopard tanks in 2013 citing human rights concerns, the Germans sold 39 ex-East German ships to Indonesia at unit costs of US$10-15 million in the 1990s and sold dozens of used Leopard 2 MBTs to Indonesia earlier this year.That, not withstanding deafeaning campaigns by ‘activists’ who opined that they could be used to hurt civilians. They succeeded in Holland but failed yet again in Germany.

    Perhaps the Germans are less fickle and we really need to grab one of thosee two decommissioned F122 frigates while we can.

  4. beegeagle says:

    A few months ago, we gave a sneak preview of the 35 metre Sentinel Fast Multirole Patrol Vessel which we were sure are almost certainly destined for the Nigerian Navy. These vessels shall be chiefly tasked with interdiction at sea.

    It is increasingly looking like they shall be paid for by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and form the backbone of the Nigerian Navy’s new Fisheries Protection Patrol Squadron.

    Watch this space.



    ” It is instructive to note that the Fisheries Divisions of the Angolan and Ghanaian Ministries of Agriculture have variously acquired pairs of 62 metre and 46.8 metre patrol ships to be manned by the navies of those countries with fisheries protection in view. Their South African counterpart have also acquired three ships tasked with fisheries protection as well.

    Nigeria, WAKE UP ”

    BEEGEAGLE’S BLOG – we shape opinions and influence outcomes 🙂

  5. giles says:

    oga beeg,atleast d our navy hav improved.we need put more heat on d army and airforce,cos dere’s were our problem lies now.we need uav’s,recon equipment,proper use of our satelites,better amoured and wheeled vehicles,better rifles and better fortified barracks

  6. rka says:

    The NN will probably still go for the Harbin Z-9 helios as if the revamped Lynxes are assigned to the OPVs (I know they can be re-assigned), a ASW/ASuW helicopter will still be needed for NNS Aradu when she has undergone her re-fit and any other Frigates/Corvettes the navy purchases in future.

  7. Henry says:

    Oga beeg, please a little expose on the lynx helicopters would do us good.

    My questions are, I)Are we certain the lynx helicopters undergoing up-grades? II)What number do we have? III) In your opinion, how do they stack up when compared to the south-african lynx helicopter? IV)Are there any plans on the acquisition of additional helicopters seeing that we would be getting 3 ocean going vessels in 2014?

  8. igbi says:

    For the uniforms I can answer: We don’t even make our kaki, we buy it from chinese private companies or us private companies, and they can be purchased in the internet. For the weapons: a part of the ransom for hostages consists of weapons, thats right boko haram got some weapons from france, and let us not forget the contribution of its golf allies. What I doubt in that tail is that the DPO and his men would lie down and yet boko haram would not shoot them or slit their throats. I think the DPO is a fictional character.

  9. beegeagle says:

    Oga Colonel, could you please repost these last 3 comments in the thread which reads “HUNDREDS OF INSURGENTS” so that the raging BH debate does not shift here to overwhelm this thread about the Type 056 corvette.

    The reason why I posted this thread afresh today is to keep it free of BH content which I hope shall all go to the appropriate thread. I can see that you did not notice that we have moved to the said “HUNDREDS OF INSURGENTS…” and are possibly mistaking this thread for the now-recaptioned one from yesterday.

    Thereafter, I shall come back and delete these comments.

    Thank you, my Oga at the Top :-). Much appreciated. Nor vex say e be laik man giv u small fatigue o, sir. I nor fit at all, at all.

    @ALL. Gentlemen, please keep related content where it should be. There is this tendency, albeit in a bid to gain maximum readership for our comments, to post absolutely unrelated content on inappropriate threads. People would still see the comment inside an appropriate thread even if yours is comment no. 150. If we do not keep it that way, it shall create utter disarray on here. I do not want to have to delete comments posted in breach of ground rules, so let us observe this rule of business.

    The simplest way to keep it right is to check whatever you seek to post and compare it to the caption of the thread in which you are considering posting your comment. If they do not rhyme, please look for the appropriate placement for your comment and post there.

    Thank you for helping me to serve you better. Grateful and humble as always.

  10. Yagazie says:

    Oga Beegz – well said and well done.
    Oga Henry, regarding our naval super lynx helos I believe we purchased 3 in number which were used to start the NN naval air arm which was based at Navy Town Ojo Lagos back in the 1980s. I stand to be corrected but I believe one of these helos was lost in an aircrash or fire mishap (Oga Beegz please confirm the veracity or otherwise of this statement). Regarding the South African naval helos, they operate the Lynx Wildcat, which is an upgraded and more mordern version of the super lynx helicopter. The Algerians have also purchased about 6 Lynx Wildcats for their naval air-arm. How does this compare with our own lynx helos? Well it depends if our helos are upgraded to Lynx Wildcat standards (as they basically have the same airframe) then no difference. If however we are simply re-activating/providing minor upgrades, then it may be that the South African helos would be more advanced. Regarding addtional helicopters, I was under the impression that durng the presidency of Nicholas Sarkozy of France an agreement was signed to purchase some french equipment which included patrol boats and 12 Fennec naval helicopters. I don’t know if that contract is still in the works- any news Oga Beegz?

  11. Yagazie says:

    Notwithstanding the fact that we will be getting 2 P18N OPVs, a Hamilton class OPV and possibly 2 Indian built Pipavav vessels, I believe we should still go ahead and purchase the recently decommissioned German Type 122 frigates.

    These are real warships that will provide our navy with a true blue water naval warship capability for the next 10-15 years during which time new warships (not OPVs) can be purchased.

    It will also enable our naval service to regain its ASuW and ASW capabiities lost when NNS Aradu became non-operational. Their purchase will also complement NNS Aradu as they were built by the same naval shipyard.

    Our Navy will thus have 3 frigates (one for each seagoing command) and just one behind South Africa which operates 4 Meko 200 class frigates. With 3 frigates, we can ensure that at any given time there is at least 1 frigate is out on Patrol duties. WE NEED THOSE SHIPS.

  12. Solorex says:

    Chinese helix for ASW? most unlikely; the new found love for Naval aviation is Augusta A109 light helix for patrols, if ASW is to be revamped we will be looking at Western equipment ( the Lynx- two of then could be revived and upgraded- they use to have torpedo mounting attachments) else we will be looking at something from Augusta or associated company-so much has been spent to acquire 8-10 frames from Augusta in the past decade and to domesticate maintenance. We will most likely end up with AW159- acute and deadly bride befitting for a refitted Aradu and perhaps one of our Chinese OPVs.

    • Max Montero says:

      Hi Solarex, I’m curious on your opinion that Nigeria will skip the Z-9s. With the tight budget, would it be practical for the NN to go AgustaWestland all the way when China could offer something for far less? Unlike the PH Navy which will go anywhere but Chinese, NN can easily deal out with the Chinese.


  13. Yagazie says:

    Oga RKa- you are quite right. correction accepted and apologies to all cybergenerals for the misinformation.

  14. There is this unbelievable news on defense blogs that Angola has purchased an ex-Spanish carrier. I am trying to confirm but all articles on the development I have sighted seems not to be written in English. I am still trying to believe it though!

    • Max Montero says:

      A similar report surfaced before saying the Philippines is interested in the former Principe de Asturias…isn’t it possible that a similar kind of reporting happened again, this time involving Angola?


  15. There is this unbelievable news on defense blogs that Angola has purchased an ex-Spanish carrier. I am trying to confirm but all articles on the development I have sighted seems not to be written in English. I am still trying to believe it though

  16. beegeagle says:

    Angola think big all the time and are serious about procurement, having known warfare and come to value peace. Nigerians would shout ‘are we at war!” so that the military do not get what they require but we are quick to heap curses on our leaders whenever there is a security incident. We like peace but do not know that we have to prepare for war if we are to win that peace.

    Not quite sure if that is not a rumour, Camouflage1984, since Angola frankly have zilch big ship experience…never operated even a 1,000 ton corvette and to go from there to 15,000+ ton aircraft carrier seems quite unbelievable. Except the operations are going to have to be entirely outsourced to mercenaries/contractors from the West.

    Until 2009 when they placed orders for German patrol craft in the 42 metre category and more recently, for two 62 metre Damen Fisheries Patrol Vessels (a 903 tonner and possibly the biggest vessel they have operated since independence in 1975), the Angolans paid scant attention to their navy – curious for a country with a 1,000-mile long coastline. What I see is that because their coast is practically open all the way to South America, barring their small neighbour Sao Tome’s EEZ, they have not really reckoned that maritime warfare is of any value, not even with an oil-rich EEZ.

    What they have always focused on equipping, perhaps stemming from the long wars against the defunct SADF and UNITA, is their Army and the Air Force.

    Could this be the source of your story??Ă­ncipe_de_Asturias

    My point is, the supporting structures, manpower base and skill sets…not to mention the absence of STOL fixed-wing jets such as the Harrier or Super Etendard make it not so believable. I mean, this was Spain’s only aircraft carrier and I do not mean a helicopter carrier.

    But it makes it apparent that the NN must keep an eye on the target that is the LPD. We need to get two Makassar class LPDs, each built at a cost of US$50 million by Daewoo. Our LSTs have reached the end of the line and need to be replaced.

  17. mnl01 says:

    Royal Cambodian Air Force Receives 12 Z-9 Harbin

    Twelve Harbin Z-9 Haitun helicopters, which Cambodia had purchased from China, were delivered to the Royal Cambodian Air Force on November 25. The helicopter delivery was a new historic achievement in addition to numerous supports the Chinese government has given to Cambodia.

    The Cambodian Z-9 helicopter fleet will be made of 4 assault variant, 6 utility variant and 2 VIP configured variant. These helicopters would also being used for training purposes, border protection as well as to support HADR operations.

    Soeung Samnang, commander of the Royal Cambodian Air Force, said the Z-9 helicopters were purchased from the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation through a USD 195 million loan approved by China in August 2011.

    Cambodia is one of China close allies in ASEAN. Both countries have reached the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation ratified in 2010.

    Beside the Royal Cambodian Air Force, other ASEAN operators of the Z-9 is Lao’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force with 4 currently operational.

  18. eniola says:

    Hopefully d president z going to collect d german frigate on his trip to germany. D NSA z on his entourage:

    • beegeagle says:

      Much better.

      I am sure that Nigerian presidents do not go on state visits without signing defence contracts.

      The fact that he is going to France and Germany which do not mix politics with arms deals as much as the rest of them, gives me hope. And once the NSA is on board, there shall be procurement.
      Yes, we NEED the F122A frigates like medicine and we need to grab as many of those well-maintained, armed Bo-105 scout helics of which several squadrons have been withdrawn from German Army service as they downsize.

      Last time GEJ was in France, he went with Gen Azazi of blessed memory. That was when the OCEA deal took shape.

      Since 2010, President Sarkozy gave approval for the sale/transfer of four patrol craft, thirty river gunboats and twelve Fennec helicopters for the Navy and armoured vehicles for the Army(possibly Panhard Sagaie AFV and Panhard VBL).

      Perhaps Nigeria are still grappling with competing demands and have not deemed it fit to pounce

      In Mali, we saw the worth of the VAB APCs in crosscountry desert warfare. The French have a surplus of hundreds of those.

      • jimmy says:

        I am going to look at this in a devil’s advocate point of approach.
        1.We need more helicopters/light attack/to troop carriers/to more pumas? or Fennecs?

        2 . The border situation with Cameroon and the recent escape of the Frenchman in Zaria, These are issues that will be discussed,

        3. No information on the French priest that was kidnapped in Cameroon and is suspected of being held in Nigeria.

      • Oga Jimmy maybe you should be our proverbial tenth

  19. Max Montero says:

    General Beeg! Long time no hear from you!

    Congratulations on new capabilities of the Nigerian military, saw your other posts regarding the MPA and Alpha Jet upgrades and small boats procurements. I’m also curious on the NN’s P18 stealth OPV program, and the ships from Pipavav, any updates on these purchases? Any update on the F122 frigates from Germany? I’ve been having difficulty getting accurate updates on these ships’ status, last info I got was they were heading for the scrapyard.

    Are there any movements on the NN’s ASW helicopter capabilities? I believe there are plans for the revival of the capability as well as the old Lynx helicopters.

    I invite you and your readers to visit my site as well. I’m glad to be back at Beegeagle’s blog after a long hiatus!

    Max (

  20. ifiok umoeka says:

    Admiral Max, greetings. I guess u should check our latest post in order 2 reach Marshall Beegs. By the way, is ur blog back online, it was closed for maintenance the last time I checked!

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