Fincantieri has launched the first of two stealth patrol vessels for the United Arab Emirates Navy. The vessels were ordered in 2010 as part of the Falaj 2 programme.
The first ship, Ganthoot, whose name comes from a geographical area in the Emirates in the neighbourhood of Abu Dhabi, will be delivered in the last half of 2012.
The launch ceremony at Fincantieri’s Muggiano shipyard, which was attended by the Deputy Commander of the Emirate Naval Forces, His Highness Sheikh Saeed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Italian head of Fincantieri’s Naval Business Unit, Angelo Fusco, the Commander-in-Chief of Maridipart La Spezia, Admiral Andrea Campregher and representatives from the shipyard’s management, started with the customary recital of the Koran and, following the official speeches, the traditional breaking of the bottle.
Capable surpassing 20 knots, the Falaj 2 programme patrol vessels are 55 metres long with a beam of 8.60 metres and can accommodate a crew of 28.
The stealth vessels are able to carry out a range of different mission types – from patrol and surveillance to defence from air and surface attacks.
The contract provides the Emirate Navy with an option for another two sister vessels as well as technology transfer to a local shipyard for the construction of additional sister vessels.
Recognising the strategic importance of the Middle East market and its strong partnership with the UAE, Fincantieri intends to consolidate the company Etihad Ship Building (ESB). Set up as a joint venture with Al Fattan Ship Industries and Melara Middle East – both represented at the ceremony – ESB works in the field of the design, construction and sale of different types of civilian and military craft in addition to carrying out maintenance and refitting in loco.