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France receives first Ophrys class VSP Ophrys built by Merre Shipyard.

| 2022

According to information published by Opex 360 on November 16, 2022, the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has received the Ophrys class VSP Ophrys built by Merre Shipyard.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 French Ophrys class VSP Ophrys. (Picture source: French MoD)

The first ship - called Ophrys - was then launched. Then, after a series of sea trials, she was delivered to the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA), which will then hand her over to the French Navy.

These eight VSPs will replace the Vedette d'Intervention Plongeurs Démineurs (VIPD) used for some thirty years by the clearance divers as well as by the Saint-Mandrier diving school.

Built-in aluminum, the Ophrys is 26.5 meters long and has a displacement of 87 tons. With a range of 450 km, it is equipped with a diesel engine as well as an electric propulsion, in order to navigate discreetly, at reduced speed.

The French Ministry of the Armed Forces specifies that its shallow draught will allow it to be deployed in shallow areas and that it will be able to use a towed sonar, in order to carry out search missions up to 100 meters below the surface of the sea. The VSP is armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun and she is operated by six sailors.

In addition to searching for and neutralizing mines, the VSPs will also be used for training, support for underwater work, and intervention on ship hulls. The Ophrys was scheduled to be delivered in early 2022, with subsequent units to be delivered until 2025.

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