Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The French Ministry of Defense has confirmed it has ordered the construction of a fourth Bâtiment multimission ship.
French defense officials initially planned to operate three of the vessels, but decided in early 2015 to procure a fourth. The new ship is slated for delivery in 2018.
The confirmation, announced in a statement released by the French Directorate of General Armaments, comes less than a year after the country's government received its second Bâtiment multimission ship, or B2M. Kership, an enterprise jointly owned by Piriou and DCNS Group, is expected to deliver the third vessel in early 2017.
B2M ships are designed to perform various sovereignty missions at sea, including law enforcement, logistics, search-and-rescue operations and assisting compromised vessels. They were procured to replace the aging BATRAL-class patrol ships.
The vessels displace roughly 2,300 tons at sea, reach a speed of 13 knots, and are crewed by 20 sailors. The French governments adds the ships are capable of deploying for 30 days without refueling.