Today at the Fincantieri Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard there was the ceremony to mark the launch of the “Qarnen”, a patrol vessel under construction for the United Arab Emirates Navy.
Her sister ship, the “Ghantut”, was launched last January.
The two vessels – whose names come from an area of the Emirates near Abu Dhabi – were ordered in 2010 within the “Falaj 2” program and will be delivered between the end of 2012 and early 2013.
The contract provides for an option for a further two vessels in addition to technology transfer to a local shipyard for the construction of further sister ships.
Fincantieri is also building the corvette “Abu Dhabi Class” for the EAU Navy at the same shipyard; delivery is scheduled in autumn this year.
Today’s ceremony commenced with the customary national anthems which were followed by the traditional recitation of the Quran and closed with the breaking of a bottle – containing sea water in observance of the Islam religion – against the ship’s hull.
The patrol vessels “Ghantut” and “Qarnen”, at 55 metres long and 8.60 wide, will be capable of reaching over 20 knots and can accommodate a crew of 28. Their main feature is their particular geometry which will make them difficult to trace by radar (stealth).
Further features are their high capacity and flexibility in carrying out different mission profiles – ranging from patrolling and observing to self defence in case of threats from the air and surface and attack against both naval and land targets - in national and international operations, whilst at the same time affording high standards of accommodation and safety.
Proof of the strategic importance of the Middle East market and of the strong, successful partnership with the Emirates, is the fact that Fincantieri has set up Etihad Ship Building – a joint venture with Al Fattan Ship Industries and Melara Middle East.