Saturday 31 October 2020

CNV P355GR, the new coastal patrol vessels of the Hellenic Coast Guard

Written by D-Mitch

The first two P355s at CNV shipyard in Italy
One of the new boat designs that will join the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) (Λιμενικό Σώμα - Ελληνική Ακτοφυλακή) naval forces in the near future (ream more here) is the P355GR, a coastal patrol vessel design by the Italian shipbuilder Cantiere Navale Vittoria (CNV) SpA. On Jan 22, 2019, the Greek Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy signed a
€42 million contract with Cantiere Navale Vittoria, through the exclusive representative of the company in Greece, Gladius PC, for the supply of three (3) state-of-the-art patrol boats to the HCG and an option for a fourth vessel. This day marked the beginning of an ambitious mini-armament program for HCG, a program that aims to strengthen the organization with modern boats with increased capabilities and new equipment but also to modernize existing equipment such as craft and aircraft.

HCG 900 and HCG 910
Tow P355s fitting out
On July 19, 2019, the HCG activated the option for the fourth vessel for
€13.9 million and therefore the number of boats was increased to four. The acquisition of the four boats of €55.56 million value received 90% of its funding from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). Because of the EU funding, the Greek vessels will be assigned for four months per year to Frontex missions outside Greek waters. They will be used to patrol the EU’s external maritime borders as well as conduct limited search and rescue (SAR) under Frontex.The new boats are intended to replace the remaining Delos-class (or otherwise known as Abeking), boats which were built in the late '70s (speed 27 knots, 27m length, 86 tons displacement).

One of the six Abekings in service with the HCG
The new vessel of HCG is a modified version of the P350 (35 indicates the length in meters) which serves in significant numbers with the Libyan Coast Guard (P350 LAR) and Tunisia (P350 TN). It should be noted here that Cantiere Navale Vitoria SpA has a long tradition in the design and construction of boats of various types since 1927 (!), with a production of more than 800 boats such as: cargo-boats, fishing vessels, tankers, dredgers, ferry boats and passengers ships as well as patrol boats of various sizes for Slovenia, Libya, Tunisia, Italy , Malta and Cyprus.
Older photo of HCG 910 under construction
Older photo of HCG 910 under construction

The stern launching ramp
Rear RCNWS and crane

The Greek P355 GR is essentially a new model and not just a version of the existing P350. The new boat is optimally designed to carry out a wide range of missions, is about 1.5 meters longer (almost 37 meters length overall) in order to meet the requirements of the HCG competition and mainly regarding the autonomy, the accommodation spaces and the way the Rigid-Hull inflatable Boat (RHIB) is launched. There are excellent living spaces, generator set and air conditioning in all closed compartments. Its displacement approaches the 160 tons at full load. Its speed with full load is 38 knots and with average load it exceeds the 40 knots while the maximum range with a speed of at least 18 knots exceeds the 1,000nm! The boat has 16 beds in 6 living quarters (cabins) for the 12-member crew plus 4 additional passengers due to the operational requirement of HCG while it has also the ability to accommodate 20 additional passengers (a special forces team, shipwrecked persons, etc.) in seats. There are also appropriate provisions for the reception and transport of patients and injured by stretcher. 


Each boat has two stretchers while each ship will carry complete equipment for rescue-collection of shipwreck people (quick tow device, collection net, first aid equipment, etc.). In addition to all this, the boat will be equipped with everything is needed in order to serve the crew, such as washer, dryer, multiple bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen, sound systems, TVs, desks and much more.

Older photo of the stern launching ramp

The stern launching ramp
with the 7.5-metre RHIB









The engine room of P355



The rear RCNWS








The construction material is aluminum while the walls and the glass (windows) of the control area and the bridge have anti-ballistic protection with impact resistance from a 7.62 mm caliber projectile according to STANAG 4569 KE PROTECTION LEVEL 3. 


Note the covered forward Elbit RCNWS (without the machine gun)

The RCNWS that equips the vessels.
Original photo by Elbit Systems


Each vessel is equipped with two dual-axis 12.7mm caliber Elbit Systems light Remote Controlled Naval Weapon Stations (RCNWS), capable of 360-degree coverage. A flexible weapons pedestal enables use of a range of firepower, including a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, an FN MAG 58 or MG37.62mm machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. Operation is simple and intuitive, using a general purpose display with soft keybased operating workstations for the gunner and commander. Line-of-sight (LOS) and line-of-fire (LOF) weapon stabilization enables engaging, aiming and firing on moving targets, while stationary or on-the-move. Ballistics are automatically computed and inserted into the LOF calculation, with no influence on crosshair position. The weapon station includes a suite of modular optical sensors, including a day camera, thermal camera and laser rangefinder. This kind of weapon systems enable effective combat engagement while the operator remains safe below the deck, enhancing lethality and survivability.

View of the boats' superstructures
The platforms with the forward RCNWS covered

There are at least two pedestal on the upper deck for M2HB 12.7mm heavy machine guns with integrated armor shields for protection to the weapon and gunner. The electronic equipment includes among others two JRC S-band and X-band Automatic Radar Plotting Aid (ARPA) surveillance and navigation radars, a Warship Automatic Identification System (W-AIS) and two Elbit Systems state-of-the-art electro-optical sensors (3rd generation) mounted on the mast of the ship with the possibility of rotation and full perimeter coverage and a full range of modern radio equipment including satellite antenna, HF, VHF and UHF, NAVTEX, GMDSS etc.

Infographic of CNV P355GR coastal patrol vessel of the Hellenic Coast Guard

The main mast with the sensors
JRC radars and ELOP EO sensors
Regarding the electro-optical sensors, both are provided by the Israel-based international defense electronics company Elbit Systems. Elbit Systems Intelligence and Electro-optics – Elop’s (Elop) EO/IR payloads are installed on naval vessels worldwide. The systems have logged tens of thousands of operational hours on naval vessels and onboard fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. Each boat features a Micro Compact Multi-purpose Advanced Stabilized System (Micro CoMPASS) and a Spectro eXtended Range (XR). MicroCompass is an ultra lightweight, extremely compact design (small 8” turret), optimized for installation on small maritime platforms, single LRU integrating 4 EO elements: large format continuous zoom thermal imager, zoom color TV camera with low light mode, target illuminator and eye safe laser range-finder. Spectro XR is a day/night highly stabilized ultra-range multi-spectral electro-optical Intelligence Surveillance Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) system that provides 20" payload performance in a 15" payload. The heart of the system is a multi-spectral imaging system that combines multiple optical channels into one, allowing to significantly improve performance without increasing size and weight. SPECTRO XR is equipped with a wide variety of digital imaging, high definition sensors and advanced lasers (multi-spectral telescope, laser pointer,
thermal imager, visble zoom camera, laser rangefinder, laser designator and laser illuminator, laser spot tracker) - all with very high levels of stabilization. SPECTRO XR exhibits high performance at day, night and adverse weather conditions

Close-up photo of the advanced
ELOP electro-optical payloads

The JRC S-band and X-band
radars on the main mast

As mentioned earlier, CNV has made a radical modification of the basic design and instead of an A-Davit with fast release and recovery system for RHIB there is a stern launching ramp without requiring the parent ship to first come to a halt, for rapid release and recovery of an RHIB of 7.5 meters. 
View of the RHIB launching ramp


The MST RHIB has eight (8) seats

The RHIB has two 175hp engines

MST PATROL 750FH-SR in high speed
The RHIB is the PATROL 750FH-SR of the famous Marine Specialised Technology Ltd (MST). MST) is the world’s leading provider of Rigid Inflatable and High Speed Workboats for military and professional use. The Patrol 750-FH-SR is a heavy duty commercial high speed rigid inflatable boat with GRP composite deep “V” hull and aluminium fabricated topsides. Propulsion is twin 175hp counter-rotating Yamaha outboard engines for efficient high-speed operation. The light displacement is 2.53 tons, length overall is 7.7m, beam overall is 2.6m and the max speed is 44 knots with 100nm range at 30 knots. The craft layout features a command console with two (2) shock mitigation crew seats and six (6) mission configurable (removable) shock mitigating pax seats. They are equipped with a Raymarine navigation radar and a searchilght.

The Greek PATROL 750FH-SR


A larger size craft model the same type of craft is also on the Damen Stan Patrol 5509 Gavdos offshore patrol vessel (OPV), the MST PATROL-900.
The largest and most advanced vessel in the HCG is Gavdos

There is a free deck area of ​​15 sqm for future installation of systems and for UAV use as well as two rescue areas (helicopter pick-up zone, winch areas) forward and behind the superstructure. In addition, each boat has a high pressure water cannon for firefighting placed atop the bridge.

The first P355 pair in Italy
Two P355s fitting out
The Israeli company Elbit Systems has undertaken the supply of the combat management systems and perform systems integration of the vessels. The systems to be supplied and integrated include the two electro-optic payloads, the two radars, navigation systems, the Warship Automatic Identification System (W-AIS) as well as the two RCNWS with full integration into a Command and Control software. The combat suit is designed to support future ‘plug and play” integration of aerial and surface unmanned systems (UAV and USV) that will enable expansion of the operational envelop of the patrol vessels far beyond line of sight. (source)

The first pair of P355s in Italy getting ready!

The first two vessels are expected in Greece in 2020 and the last pair in the mid 2021s. More likely they will be based in Lesvos, Chania, Piraeus and Patra or an Ionian Sea island. They will be the first vessels with actual RWS as the three Sa'ar 4 OPVs although have two Mini-Typhoon systems each, they require the aid of the EO sensor on the mast for targeting. The lead ship in the class is named Marinos Zambatis and the second ship Georgios Kotoulas. The article will be updated with more information and photos in the near future. I would like to thank Cantiere Navale Vittoria, Gladius and MST for all the information provided for my article.

Fitting out in Italy

UPDATED: the arrival of the first two boats on December 17. Some videos and photos by the Hellenic Coast Guard.


  1. Very informative excellent sharing.

  2. Καλημερα
    Συμφωνα με δηλωσεις του Αρχηγου του Λιμενικου Σωματος τα σκαφη ηταν ν αναχωρησουν απο Ιταλια για Ελλαδα στις 21/11/2020 αλλα μαλλον του covid19 ισως καθυστερησει η αφιξη ,οπως και να εχει ειναι μια σημαντικη προσθηκη στο στολο του Λιμενικου Σωματος.
    Να ειμαστε υγιεις και γεροι.