French Navy PLG light patrol vessel La Confiance in combined anti-drug training with US Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser. French Navy picture.
“The “La Confiance” PLG (Patrouilleur Léger Guyanais or French Guyana-based Light Patrol Vessel) is now on “Active Duty” and able to conduct operational missions following a ceremony held April 27th…”
It is the first of two small ships of a new class designed specifically for service in the French Atlantic EEZ in the Western Hemisphere. The size is a bit unusual.
They will replace two P400 class patrol craft currently based in French Guyana. The P400s are about the same size as the Webber class “Fast Response Cutters.”
The French do not have an ocean-going coast guard like ours, so their navy does many of the functions performed by the USCG. The new ships make an interesting comparison with the Webber class; I think they even look a bit alike. In many ways the PLG corresponds to what I suggested earlier as cutter X:
…taking the crew and equipment of a Webber class Fast Response Cutter (FRC) and putting them in a larger hull with more endurance and seakeeping, while accepting lower top speed than the FRC.
Comparing the “La Confiance” PLG to the FRCs:
- Displacement: PLG 700 tons; FRC 354 full load
- Crew: 24, same for both, PLG can also accomodate 14 people, special forces for example.
- Dimensions: PLG 60 m (197 ft) x 9.50 m (31.2 ft) x 3.2 m (10.5 ft); FRC 46.8 m (154 ft) x 8.11 m (26.6 ft) x 2.9 m (9.5 ft)
- Power: PLG 6,000 KW (8,046 HP), FRC 8,600 KW (11,600 HP)
- Speed: PLG 21, FRC 28
- Range: PLG 3,500 nmi at 12 knots, FRC 2,950 at 14 knots
- Endurance: PLG 12 days; FRC 5 days
- Boats: PLG two, FRC one
French Navy La Confiance PLG light patrol vessel arriving in Fort-de-France, Martinique. Picture: E.Mocquillon © Marine nationale
More from the builder here.
Seems like just the 50 cal might be a little light. I know the North Atlantic “coast guard” ships are lightly armed, but I assume the French will be using these in their EEZ in Africa, the Pacific, and South America. Seems like at least a 20mm might be appropriate.
I did not talk about the weapons, because they are very similar to the Webber class. That is a Nexter Narwhal 20mm RWS on the bow.
The La Confiance and sister were built to replace French P400 EEZ patrol vessels in the Caribbean only. The P400’s were equipped with a single 40mm Bofors for reference. As part of the P400 retirement the French have also reassigned the remaining nine D’Estienne d’Orves avisos class to EEZ patrol. The avisos seem to be unique to the French Navy as at 1100 tons they are too heavy to be a corvette, but have heard them referred to a sloops. Armament wise the avisos pair Exocet and torpedoes capability typical with lighter corvettes with 100mm deck gun from their frigate fleet.
I would say the avisos were classic corvettes. There seem to be two two distinct types of Corvettes:
1. Overgrown missile boats
2. Small frigates
You might want to take a look at this:
The main difference is cost. The PLGs cost <$20 million a hull, 3x less than the FRCs' $60+ million price tag. Surely something to do with shipyard productivity, the French shipyard having to compete on the export market.
Lots more details here: http://www.meretmarine.com/fr/content/la-confiance-bord-du-premier-patrouilleur-leger-guyanais.
The large hull enables some nice extra features, like a passive stabilization tank, a large open deck for UAVs, space for a 10ft container, and a multifunction briefing room/retention area/accommodation space all rolled into one!
Second vessel of the class. From the German Navy blog “Marine Forum:
30 May, FRANCE, Socarenam (Boulogne-sur-Mer) delivers patrol boat „La Resolue“ (P 743) … will be based in Guyana where she will join sister ship „La Confiance“
A second vessel of the class now operational. https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2017/september-2017-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/5615-french-navy-guyana-based-light-patrol-vessel-plg-la-resolue-is-now-on-active-duty.html
A third vessel of this class has been contracted for and will be based in the Antilles. https://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/2017/december-2017-navy-naval-forces-defense-industry-technology-maritime-security-global-news/5800-france-orders-an-additional-light-patrol-vessel-plg-for-antilles.html
There is a video of the Nexter Narwhal 20mm in the comments of this post. https://chuckhillscgblog.net/2017/05/01/new-french-friends-in-the-caribbean-neighborhood/comment-page-1/#comment-95916
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More information on these and how they are equipped.
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They are being used to curb illegal fishing. https://www.bairdmaritime.com/work-boat-world/maritime-security-world/naval/ships-naval/french-navy-vessel-seizes-illegal-fishing-boat-near-saint-barths/
Another photo and a story about the third of class.
Not this class but French Navy in the Caribbean. https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2021/01/french-navy-frigate-intercepts-4-2-tons-of-cocaine-in-the-caribbean/