Years after, Nigerian Navy set to refit Flag Ship, Aradu

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As part of fleet recapitalisation effort of Nigerian Government, the Nigerian Navy (NN) on Tuesday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dearsan Shipyard Turkey to remodel the Ngeria Navy Ship (NNS) ARADU.

NNS Aradu (F89) (meaning “thunder” in Hausa) is a Nigerian frigate. She is the first of the MEKO 360 general purpose frigates built by the German Blohm + Voss company of Hamburg.

The 125.6-metre (412 ft 1 in) ship is the largest in the Nigerian Navy. As a general purpose frigate, Aradu has capabilities for anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare effectively, and participated in the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The ship also possesses capability for naval fire support and electronic warfare. Additionally, she carries a ship-borne helicopter for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and enhanced surveillance/detection.

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, said the MoU was signed to refit the ship aimed at enhancing navy’s capability for enhanced security within Nigeria’s maritime domain.

Gambo said the NNS ARADU, which was commissioned into the Nigerian Navy Fleet as the Flag Ship in 1985, had represented Nigeria in diverse naval operations and exercises within Africa and beyond.
He said it was the only variant of the five MEKO 360 Frigates built in Germany for Argentine and Nigerian Navies.
According to him, wear and tear associated with sustained use as well as the harsh operating environment has taken its toll on the edifice.
“However, with the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria through the unrelenting efforts of the standing Senate Committee on rehabilitation of NNS ARADU, we are gathered here today to commence modalities to rerole and modernise the nation’s flag ship.
“Another significance of today’s event is the landmark agreement for the supply of additional 57-meters Fast Attack Craft to support the remodelled Flag Ship.
“Undoubtedly, operationalisation of these two vessels will not only increase the fleet of ships but also reposition the Nigerian navy for enhanced maritime security operations for socio-economic prosperity of Nigeria and Africa at large,” he said.
The naval chief said the choice of partnering with Messrs Dearsan Shipyard was based on the company’s track record in high-quality ship building capability as well as strict adherence to agreed timelines.
He added that the firms was currently constructing two High Endurance 76 meters Offshore Patrol Vessels for the navy in Turkey.
According to him, a major consideration is the fact that several equipment, auxiliaries and subsystems being used in the construction of the offshore patrol vessels would be fitted onboard NNS ARADU.
This, according to him, is to further enhance operability and equipment standardisation, which undoubtedly would guarantee seamless maintenance necessary to extend the life span of the remodeled flag ship.
He said the MoU would re-ignite the partnership between both organisations in promoting synergy towards enhancing security as well as fostering operations and shipbuilding engagements that would enhance capability for the sustainable development of the Blue Economy for Nigeria’s prosperity.
Gambo appreciated the sustained efforts and support from the federal government, saying it had been instrumental to successes recorded by the Nigerian navy.
He expressed confidence that the shipyard would actualise a high-quality result and deliver both vessels on schedule.
He implored both parties to be committed towards attainment of the objectives.
The Chief Policy and Plans (Navy), Rear Adm. Saidu Garba, said the 125.6 meter ship was the largest in the navy inventory as a general proposed frigate.
Garba said that NNS ARADU was an all-purpose frigate fighting ship capable of undertaking several missions in concert with other units.
According to him, it has a sustained and independent blue water patrol over a range of 6500 miles and provides gunfire support to friendly forces operating up to 16 kilometers from the coast.
“It has capability for air defense. And submarine warfare, electronic warfare and the ship warfare missiles main lane, as well as airborne or surface search and rescue.
“Since our entry into the service, NNS Aradu has taken part in major naval exercises, fleet reviews and diplomatic cruises.
“The ship has undertaken extensive diplomatic visits to countries like Gabon, Congo, Zaire, Equatorial Guinea and numerous European countries.
The Managing Director, Dearsan Shipyard Turkey, Mr Mukat Gordi, thanked the Nigerian navy for the opportunity to take responsibility as the prime contractor of NNS ARADU modernisation program.
Gordi said the relationship between them had started following the signing ceremony of 76m offshore patrol vessels in December 2021.
He said the 76m OPVS programme had progressed as planned, adding that they aimed to launch the OPVS by the end of the year and deliver the vessels earlier than the contractual dates.
“Since we are aware the historical importance of NNS ARADU as being the flagship of the Nigerian navy, we have initiated our surveys onboard the NNS ARADU last year and finalised it during our latest visit to Lagos this week.
“Therefore, we would like to emphasise once again that we are highly honored for having this chance of being the prime contractor of NNS ARADU modernisation program.
“We assure you that we will accomplish the modernization and refit program according to our contract in time and deliver to the Nigerian Navy.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Sen. George Sekibo, said the navy had worked excellently with the Senate to achieve results.
Sekibo said the signing of the MoU was a landmark achievement owing to the fact that the refitting of the ship appeared impossible at a time.
He said that there had been so much improvement in the security around the nation’s maritime environment.


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