Luca Peruzzi contributed to this story . Pictures by Italian ship photographer Giorgio Arra.
This event follows the first sea-going of the “Al Zubarah” (F 101) multirole corvette in November 2020. The first multirole corvette (with a focus on air defense) is to be delivered in 2021 while the first OPV will follow in 2022 according to Fincantieri. The latter is working hard to mitigate the production slowdown caused by the national lockdown period in the first half of 2020 and the follow-on restrictions due the pandemic. Musherib was launched by Fincantieri on 18 September 2020.
For the record, a global order worth 5 billion euros (including 1 billion for missiles) was announced in August 2017. In addition to four Al Zubarah-class air defense corvettes, the contract includes the construction of two OPV/FACM type ships based on the Falaj 2-class (selected by the UAE Navy) and an air defense LPD (fitted with long range radar and ASTER 30 SAM) based on the “BDSL Kalaat Beni Abbes” (143 meters long, 9,000 tonnes displacement), which was delivered in 2015 by Fincantieri to Algeria.
About Musherib-class OPV
Designed consistently with the RINAMIL for Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) rules, according to Fincantieri, the new flexible vessel is capable to fulfilling different kinds of tasks, from surveillance to combatant operations. With a full load displacement of 725 tonnes, a length and beam of respectively 63.80 (59.60 meters between the perpendiculars) and 9.20 meters, and a depth of 5.65 meters, the new OPV is equipped with a propulsion package based on four diesel engines each driving through gearboxe one shaft (for a total of four shafts) with variable pitch propellers (two to starboard and two to the left) and two conventional rudders, providing a maximum and cruise speeds of respectively 30 and 15 knots. Such a propulsion arrangement is well known and proven as similarly used by Fincantieri on the Saettia class fast patrol boats. Engine exhausts are visible on each vessel side. The range is 1,500 nautical miles at cruising speed of 15 knots while mission endurance reaches 7 days. The platform and combat systems electrical power requirements are satisfied by three gensets. The OPV has a stern area with crane for launch and recovery of a RHIB.
The OPV with a 38 personnel crew core is equipped with an heavily armed combat system which although not specifically indicated, is expected to be equipped with a smaller version of same ATHENA family’s CMS embarked on the corvette as well as for the integrated bridge system and integrated platform management system provided by Seastema and the integrated communication suite. The latter, according to Fincantieri, includes voice/data V/UHF, HF, SATCOM (dual antenna), tactical data links (11, 16, JREAP, Y and fitted-for Link 22), GMDSS A3. The integrated navigation suite includes both X- and S-band radars from Kelvin Hughes, in addition to DGPS, Echo sounder, speed, Speed-log and meteo equipment.
Musherib-class OPV weapons and sensor systems
The sensors and weapon systems suite is also common with the corvette, except for the surface-to-air missile system and the multi-function radar. It is centered on the Kronos (Naval) version of the Leonardo family of radars, as the main mast top conical radome dimensions are only compatible with the accommodation of this model. The novelty regards the specified Kronos (Naval) HP (High Power) version embarked on the OPV, which, although no further details were provided, Naval News understood being a latest generation more capable version. The sensors package also include IFF SIRM-C interrogator and transponder while the scale-down Elettronica-provided EW suite including RESM and CESM sub-systems, according to platform images, as well as the Lacroix Defence Sylena MK 1 decoy launchers. According to the official images, in addition to the NA-30S Mk2 FCS for the Leonardo Super Rapido 76/62 mm Multi-Feeding main calibre gun, the Leonardo-provided EO/IR suite also includes two SASS IRSTs and a single Medusa Mk4B FCS for the two 30 mm Marlin-WS secondary gun systems. The missile armament package also includes two four-cell VLSs for the MBDA VL MICA surface-to-air system in the bow area and two twin-launchers for the MBDA Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles in the stern area.