KERSHIP: a real advantage for DCNS


A joint company owned by Piriou (55%) and DCNS (45%), KERSHIP already has several successes to its name, demonstrating the effectiveness of the alliance created in 2013 with the goal of extending the markets accessible to the two industrial groups, both in France and on the export market. The L’Adroit offshore patrol vessel is the showcase of this range of products. Laurence Beauvir, director of Patrol Vessel projects at the Programmes department, explains the benefits of this cooperation between the Concarneau-based shipyard and the leader for naval defence.

OPV L'Adroit, première mission de plolice des pêches

L’Adroit, an offshore patrol vessel placed at the disposal of the French Navy since October 2011, represents the first shared success for DCNS and Piriou. What are its advantages?

“DCNS realised the L’Adroit patrol vessel between 2010 and 2011, using its own funds and associating Piriou with the construction of the vessel. Designed and built in record time (less than 24 months), using an optimised process at a dedicated shipyard, this patrol vessel represented a first success in terms of cost and has inaugurated an innovative way of collaborating, most often with French or European industrial SMEs.

Since 2011, L’Adroit has been placed at the disposal of the French Navy, which has been able to conduct numerous tests on its systems and equipment during its deployments. The operational feedback is very good: L’Adroit has fully satisfied the crew, who highlighted the vessel’s exceptional endurance and availability to fulfil its maritime security missions. The innovations it contains, which are well suited to its surveillance and rapid-intervention missions – in particular the Polaris® mission management system – were also very well received.

Based on these advantages, the agreement signed with the French Navy in 2011 was extended for a further year at the end of summer 2015. L’Adroit will carry out another export support campaign with foreign navies in the first quarter of 2016, during its operational deployment, which is filled with numerous stopovers: in Latin America then in the Mozambique Channel and the Indian Ocean, to participate in Operation Atalanta, before transiting via the Suez Canal and finishing its mission in the Mediterranean.

This patrol vessel, which has been designed to be easily built in a civil shipyard of limited size through the use of technology transfer, is also an excellent tool for crew training on a modern vessel. This lesser-known function of the L’Adroit deserves better promotion!

L’Adroit therefore represents a very effective promotional showcase, both for DCNS and KERSHIP. It allows DCNS and its subsidiary not only to be present on the patrol-vessel market but also reaffirm the Group’s strategy by introducing the extent of its know-how on the other vessel ranges (corvettes and frigates) and with regard to equipment (Polaris® CMS). The future of this patrol vessel and the vessel range to which it belongs is very promising!”

“KERSHIP offers a complete range of vessels from 40 to 95 metres, intended for State action at sea: all share robustness, reliability, ease of operation and maintenance.”

What are the characteristics of the KERSHIP range?

“KERSHIP offers a complete range of vessels from 40 to 95 metres, intended for State action at sea: all share robustness, reliability, ease of operation and maintenance, and are equipped with a mission system suited to the client’s needs.

Further to the feedback of the French Navy, certain systems on the L’Adroit, such as the single integrated mast and the rear launch system, have been introduced on smaller OPVs and military vessels such as the Gowind® corvettes.

The catalogue is structured around three pillars:

  • Offshore patrol vessels, mainly intended for military or civil missions in Exclusive Economic Zones, such as security, policing and environmental protection.
  • Multi-mission vessels intended for civil missions such as humanitarian assistance, anti-pollution interventions or logistics support, but also military missions such as surveillance, the fight against piracy and trafficking or illegal immigration.
  • Specialist vessels: training vessels, landing craft or scientific or hydrographical vessels.”

In what way can the alliance between DCNS and Piriou be considered win-win for both industrial groups?

“KERSHIP has a light structure comprising 8 employees aimed at the preparation of offers, the management and realisation of contracts and the performance of industrial project management for the patrol-vessel programme.

This company was created to develop the activity of both industrial groups in the area of vessels for State action at sea, and based on their complementarity and shared desire to become references on an expanding but also highly competitive market.

Schematically, we could say that this DCNS/Piriou alliance, via KERSHIP, allows both industrial groups to position themselves on markets that were up until now difficult for them to access: that of entry-level patrol vessels for DCNS, rather more suited to “bespoke” construction, and that of military vessels for Piriou, more used to dealing with civil ship owners. KERSHIP also allows DCNS to increase its competitiveness.

Piriou and DCNS each retain their own manufacturing, logistical, commercial, legal and engineering assets that support KERSHIP.

In August 2015, the partners signed a contract with the DGA for the provision of four offshore support and assistance vessels (BSAH) to the French Navy. This recent success, after that for the B2M contract, confirms that KERSHIP is indeed a win-win alliance.

I have every confidence in our capacity to win new export contracts thanks to our alliance with Piriou. In effect, we are currently pursuing advanced discussions with clients in Europe and around the Mediterranean basin, in South America and in the Middle East, and the L’Adroit’s next campaign should help us to finalise these.”