Military Wiki
Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel
LÉ Samuel Beckett.jpg
Samuel Beckett shortly after commissioning
Class overview
Name: Samuel Beckett class
Builders: Babcock Marine
Operators: Republic of Ireland Irish Naval Service
Preceded by: Róisín class
Cost: €71m per ship
In commission: As of July 2016
Building: 1
Planned: 4
Completed: 3
Active: 3
General characteristics
Type: Offshore patrol vessel
Displacement: 2,256 tonnes
Length: 90 m (300 ft)
Beam: 14 m (46 ft)
Draught: 3.8 m (12 ft)

Two Wärtsilä medium speed diesel engines (5,440 kW (7,300 hp) each)

450 kW bow thruster
  • Baseline speed 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph)
  • Economical speed 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Range: 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)[1]
Endurance: 21 days
Boats & landing
craft carried:
3 x 8 m (26 ft) RHIB
Capacity: 3 x 6.1 m (20 ft) sea container, 1 x 5 ton, 9.56 m (31.4 ft) crane aft
Complement: 44 + up to 10 trainees
Sensors and
processing systems:
Fire control: Electro Optical
Aviation facilities: UAV only

The Samuel Beckett-class offshore patrol vessel is a class of offshore patrol vessels (OPV) ordered by the Irish Naval Service from October 2010. The first vessel is named Samuel Beckett,[2] which is also the name given to the class. Construction on this first vessel commenced in November 2011,[3] and it was commissioned in May 2014.[4][5] The second vessel was named James Joyce and delivered in 2015,[2] a third named William Butler Yeats and delivered in 2016,[6][7][8] with a fourth vessel ordered in June 2016,[9] and due to be named George Bernard Shaw.[10][11]

Background and design

Vard Marine Inc. (formerly STX Marine) designed the vessels, which have features in common with an earlier design, the Róisín class, in service with the Irish Naval Service since 1999.

The 90-metre (300 ft) OPV vessels are designated PV90 by Babcock Marine and approximately 10 metres (33 ft) longer with an additional 0.6 metres (2 ft 0 in) in depth to the existing Róisín-class PV80 vessels.[citation needed] This is intended to increase both its capabilities and abilities in the rough waters of the North Atlantic. The PV90 ship is designed carry a crew of 44 and have space for up to 10 trainees. The ships' published cruising speed is 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph), with a top speed of 23 knots (43 km/h; 26 mph).[12]

The New Zealand Navy uses an 85-metre (279 ft) version of the Vard Marine Inc. OPV design referred to as the Protector-class offshore patrol vessel. This is a modified version of the older Irish Navy Róisín-class PV80 vessels with helideck and hangar incorporated.[13]

The new ships are designed to carry remotely operated submersibles and a decompression chamber for divers. This is intended to add enhanced capabilities to undertake search and rescue, search and recovery, under sea exploration and increased sea area surveillance. The expanded deck area would also allow the Navy to deploy unmanned surveillance planes for the first time. Features also include Dynamic Positioning systems and "Power Take In Systems" to enable fuel savings as the main engines can be shut down and power sourced from battery storage or a smaller more economical engine.[14]

The first new ship was commissioned on 17 May 2014 - to replace Emer which was decommissioned on 20 September 2013.

Planning and construction

Samuel Beckett under construction

In 2007 it was reported that the Defence Forces expected to spend in the region of €180m on a replacement for the three existing vessels of Emer class.

In July 2010 the Irish Minister for Defence, Tony Killeen, announced that the Department of Defence and Naval Service would be entering into talks with UK shipbuilder Babcock Marine on two vessels worth €50m each, with an option for a third.

In October 2010 contracts were signed, and the 'cutting of steel' for the first ship occurred on 24 November 2011.[15]

On 19 May 2012 Irish Naval Service Flag Office Commodore Mark Mellett (subsequently Rear Admiral, DCOS Sp) attended the traditional keel-laying ceremony for the first of the 90 m OPVs. While modular construction methods don't strictly involve keel-laying, the term is still considered an important milestone as it signals the first stage of connecting each of the components together. The keel-laying ceremony took place in Babcock Marine’s Appledore Shipbuilding Yard in Devon, UK.[16]

The delivery of the first of the vessels was set for 2014 with the second in 2015.[1][3][17][18] The fit-out of crew quarters and facilities on the first two 55 berth ships was contracted to Moss Marine of Southampton in a £4.5 million contract. Fitting out of the first ship began in March 2012 for completion in early 2014.[14][19][20]

The option on the third vessel was exercised following the commissioning of Samuel Beckett, with delivery scheduled for 2016.[6] Payment for the ships was planned to be extended over a number of years to 2017.[21] The cost of the first three ships, including the main armament, was €213 million.[22] The fourth was costed at €66 million.[9]


Onboard systems include Mercury IP communication systems from communications and broadcast equipment vendors Trilogy.[23] Each vessel is equipped with two such communications systems. The first uses VHF, UHF and HF marine radio channels on panels installed throughout the vessel.[24] The second system aims to connect users in pre-configured work groups using interfaces installed at work stations around each vessel.[24]


William Butler Yeats in July 2016

The first ships were named for Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, as disclosed in July 2013 by the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter in Dáil Éireann.[25] This decision to name the ships after literary figures, seen as controversial in some quarters,[26][27] saw a break from the tradition of naming Irish Naval vessels after women in Irish mythology.

Name Pennant number Builder Laid down Floated out Commissioned Status
Samuel Beckett P61 Babcock Marine Appledore 19 May 2012 3 November 2013[28] 17 May 2014 Active in service
James Joyce P62 5 November 2013 23 November 2014[29] 1 September 2015 Active in service
William Butler Yeats P63 26 November 2014 10 March 2016[30] 17 October 2016 Active in service
George Bernard Shaw TBC Under construction (As of March 2017)[10]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "IARCO Newsletter (Issue 21, Autumn 2011) New offshore Patrol Vessels for the Naval Service". Association of Retired Commissioned Officers. 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Goodbye LÉ Emer and LÉ Aoife… hello James Joyce and Samuel Beckett". 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2013-11-13. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Siggins, Lorna (2012-05-19). "Keels laid for €99m Naval Service vessels". The Irish Times. 
  4. "The Defence Force’s newest ship has arrived in Cork". 30 April 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  5. ""Pride and anticipation" as LÉ Samuel Beckett vessel commissoned". 17 May 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Government to purchase third new Naval Service ship". Irish Times. 9 June 2014. 
  7. "New naval ship to be called LÉ William Butler Yeats". Irish Examiner. 22 July 2015. 
  8. "Naval ship handed over as work begins on next project". North Devon Gazette. 27 July 2016. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Brady, Tom (16 June 2016). "State to buy third naval vessel in €200m deal". Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 June 2016. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Fourth Irish Naval Service Vessel To Be Named 'George Bernard Shaw'" (in en-gb). Afloat Sailing and Boating Magazine. 
  11. "New Irish Naval Service Ship to be named LÉ George Bernard Shaw". 1 March 2017. 
  12. "STX Canada Marine - News Headlines". Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  13. "STX Company presentation to IQPC OPV Asia Conference Apr 2011". STX Company. April 2011. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Sean O'Riordan (2012-05-24). "Navy ships to carry deep sea robot subs". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  15. "Department of Taoiseach - Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Enda Kenny T.D. to Naval Personnel - Haulbowline November 25th 2011". 2011-11-25. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  16. "Department of Defence - Press Releases". 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  17. Rogers, Stephen (2010-07-16). "€98m deal for new Navy patrol ships". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  18. "Dáil Éireann - 28/Jun/2011 Written Answers - Naval Service Operations". 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  19. "£4.5m contract with Irish Navy for ship outfitters Moss Marine (From Daily Echo)". 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  20. "£4.5m contract with Irish Navy for ship outfitters". Silobreaker. Retrieved 2012-03-20. 
  21. "€100m to be spent on new Navy ships - RTÉ News". RTÉ.ie. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  23. "Press Release - Trilogy’s Mercury IP Communications System Goes Offshore". Trilogy USA Inc. April 2012. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 "Case Study - Offshore Patrol Vessel Communications". Trilogy USA Inc. March 2012. 
  25. "Hansard - Written Answers Nos. 435-450 - Naval Service Vessels". Houses of the Oireachtas. 9 July 2013. 
  26. "Decision to name Navy patrol ships after writers defended". Irish Times. 5 May 2014. 
  27. "Naval Service ship names row may reopen". Irish Times. 9 June 2014. 
  28. "Irish vessel launched from Appledore shipyard". Archant Community Media Ltd. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013. 
  29. "Babcock floats Irish Navy's new LÉ James Joyce OPV". Retrieved 6 December 2014. 
  30. "Irish Navy floats out LÉ William Butler Yeats". 14 March 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2016. 

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