The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) officially commissioned into service its first BAE Systems-designed offshore patrol vessel (OPV) at Mahidol Adulyadej Naval Dockyard on 26 August.
HTMS Krabi was built by Bangkok Dock under a technology-transfer agreement signed with BAE Systems in mid-2009. The 90 m OPV is based on the UK Royal Navy's four 80 m River-class OPVs (which entered service between 2003 and 2007), and is similar to the three OPVs the UK shipbuilder recently delivered to the Brazilian Navy.
Laid down in September 2010 and launched in December 2011, Krabi's delivery follows the successful completion of sea trials in which it "exceeded expectations", BAE Systems said.
The ship will be deployed on economic exclusion zone security duties, with missions including border control tasks, disaster-relief operations, and the protection of natural resources including fisheries in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea.
An additional five vessels are expected to be ordered as funding becomes available.
Displacing 2,540-tonnes, with an overall length of 90.5 m, a beam of 13.5 m, and a draught of 3.5 m, the OPV has a top speed of 25 kt and a range of 3,500 n miles at 15 kt. Accommodation is provided for a crew of 39 plus 50 embarked personnel. Modifications to meet the RTN's requirements include the addition of an OTO Melara 76 mm gun, locally sourced air-conditioning and electrical systems, as well as indigenous fixtures and fittings.
The OPV is also fitted with two MSI 30 mm guns. Sensors include a Variant surveillance and target indication radar and a Lirod Mk 2 lightweight radar/optronic director, both supplied by Thales Nederland, and X- and S-band radars from Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine.
The flight deck supports a medium-sized helicopter, such as the RTN's AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300.