Albanian patrol boat concludes navy’s first NATO deployment

Albanian Navy Iliria-class patrol boat ALS Oriku has wrapped up a full year of operations with the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), concluding the Albanian Navy’s first ever NATO deployment.

Deploying with SNMG2 in November 2016, the Damen-built patrol boat spent over four thousand hours on patrol in the Aegean Sea.

The mission of SNMG2 in the Aegean Sea is to monitor and patrol the waters between Turkey and Greece, with the aim of curbing people-smuggling activities.

ALS Oriku covered over 25,000 nautical miles with 17-strong crews rotating on the 250 tonne vessel every two months.

The Albanian defense ministry initially planned a single NATO deployment for the navy but it announced in October this year that it would send another patrol vessel to support the Aegean Sea mission. By the end of November, Oriku’s sister ship ALS Butrinti is set to depart the Pashaliman Base for a year of operations the Aegean.

Iliria-class patrol boats are based on Damen’s Stan 4207 design and were built at the country’s sole active Pashaliman naval base. The vessels started entering service in 2008 with the fourth and final unit, the ALS Butrinti, entering service in 2014.

The ships are currently in the process of being upgraded with remotely operated 20mm Narwhal naval turrets. The upgrades are set to be completed by 2018.

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