Local shipbuilders tap tech to fight pirates

Johannesburg - South African shipbuilders are using technology such as remote controlled guns and electro-optic sensors to fight piracy and keep waters safer.

Amid threats of piracy along the African coast, shipbuilders Damen Shipyards Cape Town (DSCT) have equipped vessels in South Africa with the FCS 5009 Patrol to deal with conflicts at sea.

The FCS 5009 Patrol vessel accommodates a Reutech Sea Rogue system comprising a 20mm cannon and two 12.7mm machine-guns that can be further equipped with a variety of weapons. 

DSCT chairman Sam Montsi said that the speed and maneuverability were key capabilities of the vessels.

“Latest ships feature a 20mm remote controlled gun on the fore deck, and can be adapted to receive up to a 30mm gun at that location,” he said. 

He added that towards the stern of the "wheelhouse there are two positions for manual or remote controlled guns up to a 12.7mm.”

An electro-optical sensor is also fitted in the mast to provide day and night camera pictures and one of the navigation radars can be exchanged for a small surveillance radar. 

A Warship Electronic Chart Display and Information System is installed for picture compilation, and surveillance and operations tasks.

In addition to weapons, the vessels are also further armoured depending on requirements. 

One of the design requirements was that the vessels are compatible with almost any armour supplier. 

“The vessels can be equipped with up to two davit systems for the launch and retrieval of daughter support craft. These daughter craft can be Damen Interceptor 1102s, RHIBs or Fast Rescue Craft or a combination of them,” Montsi said.

@KyleVenktess on Twitter.

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