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Kership — a partnership set up by French shipbuilders Piriou and DCNS in 2013 — offers an extensive range of multimission vessels, from maritime surveillance to hydrographic surveys and oceanography; from assistance to ships in difficulty to the interdiction of illegal trafficking, spill response and fisheries policing. The Kership product portfolio offers multimission naval and coastguard platforms capabilities that are rugged, long-lasting and economical. All are designed for long blue water missions and all can undertake a huge variety of operations.

B2M vessels

In 2016, the French Navy took delivery of the first of a batch of four B2M vessels on order from Kership, with two more scheduled for delivery over the coming 12 months. These multimission ships are 65m long for a beam of 14 and a full-load displacement of 2,300 tonnes. They are designed for surveillance and protection operations across France’s vast maritime zones in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the Caribbean. Patrolling at 13 knots, they offer a maximum range of 5,000nm, 30 days’ endurance and at-sea availability 250 days per year.




The ships are built to commercial shipbuilding standards and a design based on offshore support vessels renowned for their ruggedness, endurance and versatility. With a complement of 20 and accommodation for 20 passengers, B2Ms are used for sovereignty and public service missions, including interdiction of illegal trafficking, fisheries surveillance, assistance to ships in difficulty, and search & rescue. They also provide logistics support for local maritime authorities as well as armed forces based in overseas territories. In addition to a pair of organic 7m RHIBs on davits, the design features deck space to launch and recover 9m RHIBs. Within a theatre of operations these boats can carry special forces or combat divers, or, alternatively, project military or police units and their hardware and munitions. The B2M design also includes a dedicated shipboard space for divers and their gear. B2M vessels have the payload capacity to support these operations, including space for six 20‑foot containers, one earth mover, and two 4x4 vehicles. An 8m landing craft can also be accommodated using the organic crane that can lift 12t to a height of 14m.

B2M vessels can be used on humanitarian missions to deliver equipment, cargo, food and medical supplies, or to ferry medical teams into disaster zones. The ships are also equipped for firefighting (thanks to an array of water cannons), spill response, and ocean towing (bollard pull rating: 30 tonnes).


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BSAH support vessels

The French Navy has also awarded Kership the contract for four new-build BSAH-type support vessels, the first being scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Designed to replace the Navy’s previous generation of support vessels and tugs, the BSAH type will support naval forces and missions and undertake maritime safety operations. More specifically, these ships will, among other missions, accompany carrier and amphibious assault groups, support submarines at ports of call, tow warships including carriers and SSBNs over long distances, support ships at anchor and recover lost anchors and other equipment. They will also undertake search & rescue and spill response missions.


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With an at-sea endurance of 30 days, the BSAH design has a full-load displacement of 2,600 tonnes, offers 250sq.m of deck space and features a crane that can lift a 12t container and other loads to a height of 25m. Additional features include dedicated weapons stores and magazines. Each BSAH also carries an 8m boat and two or more RHIBs.

With a complement of 17, accommodation for 12 passengers, the type also supports diving, firefighting and spill response operations and has dedicated spaces for divers and their gear along with firefighting and spill response equipment. For ocean towing, the design offers a bollard pull rating of 80 tonnes.


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Hydro-oceanographic derivative

In mid-2018, Piriou will deliver a BHO2M multimission hydro-oceanographic vessel to Morocco. The design is based on the B2M vessels under construction for the French Navy. With a length of 72 metres and a beam of 15, the BHO2M will carry an array of scientific equipment to conduct seabed and marine environment surveys. The scientific payload will include multi- and monobeam echo sounders housed in a hull dome, a sub-bottom profiler, a towed sidescan sonar and a towed magnetometer, profiling sound velocity and multisensor probes, expendable bathythermographs (XBTs), a hull celerimeter and thermo-salinometer, a weather station, an acoustic Doppler current meter, a surface sediment sampler, a bottom corer and a data logger. The ship’s boats include two hydrographic survey boats and two or more RHIBs.

The ship will be used to produce seafloor maps, gather water samples and collect and process highly detailed environmental data. The silent diesel-electric propulsion system ensures clean acoustic data while also enabling the ship to travel at high speed in rough seas.


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The BHO2M offers 30 days’ endurance and accommodation for 50, including a complement of 30. In addition to its special capabilities as a hydro-oceanographic vessel, it is also a true multimission ship thanks to extensive built-in modularity for missions ranging from maritime surveillance and humanitarian assistance to special forces operations, rescue missions and environmental protection.

The handling gear includes an aft A-frame and a crane that can lift 10t to a height of 10m while the aft deck can accommodate additional containers. The design also includes a sick bay, dedicated spaces for divers and two Vertrep areas for helicopter replenishment operations.


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MPV 80

With a length of 79.5 metres and a beam of 14 for a displacement of 2,200 tonnes, the MPV 80 is Kership’s largest multimission vessel. Designed for civil and military missions within and beyond a country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the MPV 80 is ideal for anti-piracy and trafficking interdiction, environmental protection and humanitarian missions to name but a few. It offers extended range (7,700nm at 14.5 knots) and endurance (three weeks without replenishment) and a top speed of 21 knots.

Compared to the other vessels in the Kership portfolio, the MPV 80 is the most ‘naval’. The sensor suite includes a 2D surveillance radar and a range of sensors housed in a single enclosed mast. The forward deck can be equipped with a main gun (up to 40mm) while the flight deck can accommodate helicopters up to 10 tonnes. In addition, the dedicated hangar can accommodate and deploy several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Polaris combat management system, developed by DCNS, manages the ship’s sensors, displays the tactical situation and provides the communications resources to participate in a multinational force.


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With a complement of 20 and accommodation for 30 passengers, the MPV 80 offers impressive logistics capabilities thanks to a large open deck and a crane that can lift 5t to a height of 12m. The design also includes a dedicated space with capacity for six 20‑foot containers that can be reconfigured to accommodate a variety of modules from spill response gear to a containerised hospital.

The MPV 80 can deploy two 7m RHIBs on davits and an 11m RHIB or landing craft for special forces.

Written by Vincent Groizeleau, translated by Steve Dyson


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