The Cyprus Naval Command commissioned its first ever offshore patrol vessel – Commodore Andreas Ioannides (P61) – in a ceremony on January 15 at the Evangelos Florakis naval base.
The 62-meter OPV was built by Israel Shipyards and launched in September 2017. After further outfitting and trials, P61 arrived in Larnaca, Cyprus, on January 2.
Commodore Andreas Ioannides will be used to protect the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In December 2017, Cyprus’ defense ministry announced it would be acquiring further two offshore patrol vessels noting that the process of evaluating bids was already underway.
The country’s first OPV has a displacement of 430 tons and reaches a maximum speed of 32 knots. It carries up to 30 crew members plus a special forces unit.
It carries two 23mm guns and could, according to Naval Analyses, become the first anti-ship missile-armed vessel in the Cypriot Navy should it be fitted with MLS-NLOS (octuple missile launching system). Commodore Andreas Ioannides is fitted for but not with the Rafael-built system.