By 2020 the Salvadoran Naval Force expects to receive its first offshore patrol vessel, thereby boosting its maritime capabilities considerably.

According to recent statements made by Defence Minister René Merino Monroy, the vessel was ordered in 2017 and is expected to be used directly in support of protection of the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The procurement price of $56 million (€50 million), coupled with a statement that the vessel in question will be an OPV of the OPV-62M class similar to that recently inducted into the Honduran Navy, appear to confirm press speculation that the OPV will be a SA’AR-62-class built by Israel Shipyards. The formerly government-owned company delivered a SA’AR-62 OPV to Honduras in June, at a reported procurement price of $60 million.

The vessel will be the first OPV to be commissioned into the Salvadoran Naval Force, which operates a handful of coastal patrol boats, none of which exceed 30m in length.

Santiago Rivas and Florencia Lucero Heguy

Although not confirmed, observers believe the OPV to be delivered to El Salvador next year will be a SA’AR-62-class vessel, similar to those delivered to the Cypriot and Honduran navies. (Image: Israel Shipyards)

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