The F91 patrol vessel, now part of the Nigerian Navy. (Internet photo)
China recently exported a new patrol ship with hull number F91 to Nigeria, according to Admiral Yin Zhuo of the People's Liberation Army Navy during an interview with Beijing Television.
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria confirmed that the nation had planned to purchase two 1,800-tonne patrol vessels from China in April 2012, according to the People's Daily Online. Their price tag was US$42 million. In addition to the ships, Nigeria paid US$6.5 million to buy helicopters and replacement parts for the ships.
China and Nigeria made the deal during the African Aerospace & Defense Exhibition in 2010, according to the report.
The F91 is the first of the two vessels to be delivered to the Nigerian Navy, Yin told Beijing Television. It is equipped with one 76mm gun and two 30mm guns. The 76mm gun is designed to attack targets from a long distance while the 30mm guns are for close-range targets. The helicopter, which can take off from the stern, can expand the vessel's detection range and help it to coordinate with other ships.
The primary mission for the F91 is to patrol the waters near Nigeria's offshore oilfield, according to Yin. The threat the Nigerian Navy faces in the region comes mainly from local terrorist groups, thus the vessels, which would otherwise be unsuited to confront other surface combat vessels, are considered a good fit. Both ships can also be mobilized to conduct fishery protection missions in Nigeria's exclusive economic zone.