PARIS, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- French shipbuilders Piriou and DCNS are to jointly build three multi-mission ships for the French Navy.
The contract for the ships was issued by DGA, the military's procurement agency, and includes maintenance services for the vessels and an option for a fourth ship.
The ships are part of the Navy's B2M multi-mission ship program, for which Piriou is the lead contractor. DCNS is co-contractor with Piriou for the military aspects of the design studies and the supply of the onboard communications systems.
The value of the contract was not disclosed.
The vessels, which will follow an offshore support vessel design, will be 213 feet long, have a top speed of 12 to 15 knots and will be able to operate for 30 days without refueling. The ships will be deployed abroad to fulfill national sovereignty and public service missions.
"This order was fundamental for us," said Pascal Piriou, chairman and chief executive officer of the Piriou Group of companies. "First in practical terms, as we needed it to avoid a dip in workload in 2014, but also of course in strategic terms since it gives substance to our collaboration with DCNS, which is boosted into orbit with excellent prospects for the future, particularly for export."