An Ocean Eagle 43 offshore patrol boat. Note the improvised anti-aircraft gun mount on the helideck. The bow has been broken off in an unreported incident, although possibly relating to combat operations against the IS insurgency.
Covert Shores Guide To Mozambique Navy: New, Fast, and Stuck In The Mud
Mozambique has one of the most impressive fleets of any small navy. On paper. It is equipped with futuristic trimaran offshore patrol boats, robust interceptors and the world's fastest military boat. But the arms deal behind the brand new fleet went sour and the boats are barely operational.
The small force is part of the Mozambique Armed Defense Forces (FADM). This article will provide an overview of their vessel types.
Very recent image, taken on a rainy day, shows four of the patrol boats on the beach at Pemba.
The navy saga was already getting some attention in defense circles, particularly in Africa. But with the increased Islamic State (IS) insurgency, Mozambique's military is again very topical. Most recently in March IS raided the town of Palma. The arrack briefly made world headlines. And Russia's influence in the country appears to be growing. There are reports of Russian mercenaries, possibly from Wagner PMC, operating in the counter-insurgency role.
The major acquisition was for boats built by French based shipyard CMN (Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie). The company is owned by UAE based Privinvest. As reported at the time, the EUR 200,000,000 deal included six patrol boats as well as 24 fishing vessels. However, in addition, a number of high-performance interceptor boats were also supplied. Unfortunately Mozambique could not afford the craft and the deal became an economic scandal locally. Consequently the vessels are mostly unused. And those that are active may have only limited operational readiness.
Also in recent years the Spanish Navy has donated a single patrol boat, MNS Pabane, and India has supplied two L&T class interceptor boats.
2020 combat loss of an HSI-32 interceptor (unconfirmed)
On August 13 2020 terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State attacked the naval station at Mocimboa da Praia. The HSI-32 interceptor based there was apparently hit by rocket propelled grenades while engaging the attackers. It was reportedly sunk. I have not been able to confirm this. Two or more DV-15s may also have been present so identification is uncertain.
Maputo: -25.976968°, 32.569706°. 5 x DV-15 interceptors (some active). 2 x L&T interceptors (active). 3 x WP-18 Tactical Strike Craft (inactive).
Maputo (nr Estrala): -25.974593°, 32.554981°. MNS Pebane patrol boat (may be active).
Pemba: -12.967013°, 40.485147°. 3 x Ocean Easle 43 OPVs (some active). 2 x HSI-32 interceptors (may be active). ~17 DV-15 interceptors (some active).
Mocimboa da Praia: -11.336563°, 40.361857°. 2 x DV-15 interceptor (active). Formerly 1 x HSI-32 interceptor (Damaged or destroyed)
Ibo: -12.345542°, 40.580928°. 1 x DV-15 interceptor observed on occassion.
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Ocean Eagle 43
A distinctive trimaran vessel, the Ocean Eagle 43 is an ocean-going patrol vessel. Despite it's small size it's range and seakeeping greatly increase the reach of the Mozambique Navy. Three were acquired as part of the CMN deal. Today all three are based at Pemba.
The damaged Ocean Eagle 43 at Pemba, April 2021. This vessel, with the anti-aircraft gun on the helideck, was operating off Palma during the recent fighting there. Note the DV-15 interceptors in the background.
Length Overall : 43.6 m
Beam Overall : 15.7 m
Maximum draught : 1.6 m
Maximum speed : 30 Knots
Range at 18 Kts : 3,000 Nautical Miles
Range at 12 Kts : 5,000 Nautical Miles
Crew : 13 persons
Fuel : 21 m3
Fresh water : 2.0 m3
Hull & Superstructure : Composite Materials
Armanent: Machine guns. Anti-aircraft gun (type Tbc) seen on helideck in improvised position.
WP-18: World's Fastest Military Boats Not Going Anywhere
With its sleek wave-piercing hull and stealthy lines, the blisteringly quick WP-18 is the fastest naval vessel in the world. Its 'Tactical Strike Craft' role would see it interdicting illegal vessels. The high speed allows it to react quickly to developing circumstances. Inside the fully-enclosed composite exterior is a highly automated cockpit meabing minimal crewing. The trade-off is that it cannot be used for bording and utility tasks.
The WP-18 is built by Abu Dhabi MAR which is connected to CMN via the owners, Privinvest. This likely explains why the WP-18 (and DV-15, see below) was not reported when the CMN deal was struck. They were delivered in late 2014/early 2015:
Three WP-18 Tactical Strike Craft (see arrows) in a yard in Mozambique after delivery. The other boats are DV-15 Interceptors
Lengh: 18.6m (15.4m waterline)
Draft: 0.8m (half-load)
Weight: 13 ton (light ship)
Fuel capacity: 3,200L
Range: 400nm @ 47 knots
Speed: 65 knots+
Armament: TBC. Design capable of pop-up remote weapons station, soft kill systems and missiles.
The vessels were moved to a new facility in Maputo in 2017 but have been in open storage in the yard since. They do not appear to have been in the water and should be regarded as inactive.
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Built by CMN, the HSI-32 complements the Ocean Eagle 43 in the offshore role. It has a relatively long endurance, making it more suitable for longer patrols than most interceptors. It retains the interceptor speed however which characterizes many CMN designs.
It is relatively large for an interceptor which allows it to carry an inflatable boat or small RIB for bording operations (or conceivably special forces missions). The larger size and crew makes longer range missions quite viable.
The HSI-32 is also operated by the Royal Saudi Navy and Angolan Navy. The Saudi boats differ in having a remote weapons station of the deck, which necessitates a superstructure redesign.
Length : 32.2 m
Beam : 7.0 m
Maximum draught : 1.8 m
Maximum speed : 48 Knots
Range at 12 Knots : 1,200 Nautical Miles
Range at 33 Knots : 650 Nautical Miles
Crew : 12
Fuel : 25 m3
Fresh water : 3 m3
Hull & Superstructure : Aluminium
Armament: Machine guns. Remote Weapons Station possible but not fitted to Mozambique vessels.
Although more were planned, only 3 were delivered. And one of those may have been lost (see above).
The smaller inshore complement to the Ocean Eagle 43 and HSI-32 designs, the DV-15 is a fast general purpose interceptor. Over 20 appear to have been purchased and they are generally in use. Some may be in reserve, which makes sense with these types of craft.
Image geolocated to Pemba (-12.965966°, 40.484866°). From https://www.prolarge.fr/
Length: 15.5 m
Beam Overall : 3 m
Maximum speed : 50 Knots +
Range at 40 Knots : 350 NM
Crew : 4
Fuel : 2.2 m3
Hull & Superstructure : Composite
Weapons: Light weapons. Remote weapons station (RWS) possible but not observed on Mozambique;s vessels.
Recent OSINT images
6 more DV-15s appear to have been caught up in the aftermath of the CMN deal and never been fully delivered. They are sitting on a ship anchored off Pemba (-12.975762°, 40.487418°).
L&T class fast interceptor craft
India donated two interceptor craft to Mozambique in July 2019. The L&T Class boats are essentially similar to those in service with the Indian Coast Guard and have a coast guard style paint scheme.
As part of the deal a 4-person Indian Coast Guard team was stationed in Mozambique (likely Maputo). They were there to assist with training, maintenance and operations.
Both L&T class interceptors at Pemba,. Note the DV-15s.
Displacement: 90 tonnes
Length: 30 m
Speed: 45 knots
Range: 500 nautical miles
Complement: 1 officer and 11 men
Armament: 1 x Heavy Machine gun (model TBC but appears present on Mozambique examples)
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An ex-Spanish Navy Conejera class patrol boat, formerly P-32 Dragonera, transferred to Mozambique in 2013 at a nominal price. The vessel is based in Maputo but at a different base to the newer interceptors. It does not appear to be very active (if at all).
Displacement: 85 tonnes
Length: 32.2 m.
Speed: 25 knots (max)
A number of foreign contractors are supporting Mozambique with maritime security. One deal which has made the news was Spanish-based Pescanova who supplied a number of RIBs. The 12-meter boats, from Rodman, are used to counter pirate (and presumably insurgents).
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