BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe — The Angolan government has signed an agreement to acquire two fast-attack naval craft and several coastal radar and repeater station systems worth €122 million euros from two subsidiaries of Italy's Finmeccanica.

The assets will equip a new maritime surveillance network designed to secure Angola's territorial waters. According to the excerpts of a decree issued by President Eduardo dos Santos in late December and published this week by Portuguese news agency Lusa, the main contract covers the acquisition of several coastal radar and repeater communication systems from Finmeccanica subsidiary Selex.

The equipment will be used to equip the National Maritime Security Coordination Center planned for the capital Luanda and three regional maritime surveillance base stations to be set up along the coast by 2017. The contract involves the system's installation of the system as well as and the provision of training, spare parts and equipment at a total cost of €115 million euros.

A second contract, signed with Finmeccanica subsidiary Whitehead Sistemi Subacquei, covers the supply of two fast-attack naval vessels and the provision of limited maintenance and training services for Angolan Navy mechanics and sailors who will operate the boats.The new patrol boats are due for delivery by the end of 2017.

The Angolan Navy has pending orders of seven 55.6-meter long, Macae-class patrol boats from Brazilian company Empregon, contracted in 2013. According to the agreement, four of the 500-ton vessels will be built at Empregon's main factory in the Brazilian capital Rio de Janeiro. The other three will be built in an Angolan shipyard factory to be set up in Kwanza Sul, south of the capital Luanda.

Six new maritime surveillance helicopters ordered from Finmeccanica subsidiary Augusta-Westland at a cost of €90 million euro early last year are also due to join the Angolan Navy by the end of 2017. The order will meet the partial requirements of the National System for Maritime Surveillance and Security of the Angola Exclusive Economic Zone.

The maritime security project is a key component of the Angolan Naval Power Development Program (Pro-Naval), planwhich entails the acquisition of new equipment, the modernization of existing assets and accelerated training programs to upgrade key technical and manpower capacities of the Navy by 2017.

Email: onkala@defensenews.com

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