The keel for the Irish Navy’s fourth Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel was laid in Babcock’s Appledore shipyard on February 28.
Named after Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, the vessel will have pennant number P64.
It is being built under a contract signed between the Irish ministry of defense and Babcock in June 2016.
All four boats in the class will have been built by Babcock at a unit price of around €54 million.
The 90 metre, 2256 tonne OPVs have autonomous engine rooms and are capable of a top speed of 23 knots and have a range of 6,000 nautical miles at a cruise speed of 15 knots on a single engine.
The OPVs have a 76mm gun as the main weapon and are able to act as a mother ship for three fully independent Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats.
LÉ Samuel Beckett, LÉ William Butler Yeats and LÉ James Joyce joined the Irish Navy in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. Samuel Becket-class are designed for undertaking a range of duties including fishery protection, drug interdiction, search and rescue, anti-pollution and maritime security duties.
The fourth and last vessel planned to be built is expected to join by 2018.