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Abu Dhabi plans to build stealth ships
Haseeb Haider / 7 March 2012
ABU DHABI - A new joint venture shipyard in Abu Dhabi will construct stealth vessels and in the future plans to build upgraded marine engines in collaboration with Italy’s Fincantieri, which builds naval and merchant ships.
Etihad Ship Building (ESB), in a joint venture deal with Abu Dhabi’s Al Fattan Ship Industries, weapons suppliers Melara Middle East of Dubai and Italy’s Fincantieri, will construct, refit and carry out maintenance of stealth vessels for the UAE Navy and regional navies.
Initially, the joint venture shipyard will install the Rolled Airframe Missile, or RAM, defence systems on one naval vessel, which is currently under construction in Italy by Fincantieri — world’s leading ship builder.
Two more ships, which are being built by Italian ship builder, will be delivered in the next two years. Fincantieri, which has joint ventures with five nations, won a contract from the UAE Navy to build an 88-metre long 1,650 tonnes corvette for anti-submarine and anti aircraft operations.
The Italian firm won an order for the construction of 55-metre long two stealth vessels, Falaj-2 with delivery this year. This contract provides an option for the UAE Navy for the construction of two more units.
“The two vessels are under construction in Italy, will be delivered with the end of this and early 2013,” said Achille Fulfaro, the general manager of Etihad Ship Building, at a presentation on Tuesday.
Fulfaro said, the shipyard, which is located in Taweelah, is set to become the main logistical hub in the area for the Italian ship builder.
Ahmed Ali Abdulwahab Al Marzouqi, general manager of Al Fattan Ship Industry, said the new company is anticipating a contract by the end of the year to build four more vessels for the UAE Navy at the shipyard.
Asked about any order he is expecting outside the UAE, Al Marzouqi said, “talks are underway for the construction of total 10 vessels,” for two regional countries, which he did not name.
Currently, Al Fattan Ship Building is doing refitting and maintenance of four Class patrol boats for the Iraqi Navy, which was built by Fincantieri. Guiseppe Bono Fincantieri, chief executive officer said his company, which is investing heavily in this yard in terms of transfer of technology and know-how, and wants to reach out to customers in the region.
On future plans, Al Marzouqi said the joint venture ship builder will also develop a range of engines for installing on naval vessels. “We would be lucky if we are able to develop the engine in the next five to six years,” he told Khaleej Times.
Made in Abu Dhabi marine engines would further Abu Dhabi’s vision to develop a knowledge-base economy by 2030, he said.
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