Fincantieri press release
The ceremony, held in a restricted format and in full compliance with anti-contagion requirements, was attended by Three-star General Salem Hamad Al Nabit, Chief of Staff of Qatar Armed Forces, Staff Major General (Sea) Abdullah Hassan Al-Sulaiti, Commander of Qatar Emiri Naval Forces, Vice Admiral Aurelio De Carolis, Deputy Chief of Staff of Italian Navy and Giuseppe Giordo, General Manager Naval Vessels Division of Fincantieri.
The Al Zubarah class corvettes, designed consistent with the RINAMIL rules, will be highly flexible and capable of fulfilling different kinds of tasks, from surveillance with sea rescue capacities to being fighting vessels. They will be about 107 meters long, 14.70 meters wide, and equipped with a combined diesel and diesel plant (CODAD), with a maximum speed of 28 knots. The units will be able to accommodate 112 persons on board.
Furthermore, the corvettes will be capable of operating high-speed boats such as RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) through lateral cranes or a hauling ramp located at the far stern. The flight deck and hangar are sized for hosting one NH90 helicopter.
Naval News comments:
For the record, a global order worth 5 billion euros (including 1 billion for missiles) was announced in August 2017. In addition to four 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 L-band 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.
With a full load displacement of about 3,250 tonnes, a length and beam of respectively 107 (99.6 between the perpendiculars) and 14.7 meters, and a depth of 8.6 meters, the new multirole Al Zubarah-class corvettes can accomplish, according to Fincantieri, different roles such as escort, support, relief, interdiction and patrol operations. Designed consistent with the RINAMIL rules, these ships, claims Fincantieri, are highly handy, have excellent nautical qualities, seaworthiness and long range. They are able to operate in open seas missions and managed protracted helicopter operations. These corvettes can accommodate a powerful combat system, which makes their operational capabilities comparable to those of medium-size frigates, adds the same shipbuilder.
According to the released images, renderings and official information, the armament package include a Leonardo 76/62 mm Super Rapido Multi-Feeding main calibre gun, two 8-cell VLS Sylver A50 for medium-range surface-to-air missile system which MBDA has indicated as the Aster 30 Block 1 munitions as part of the SAAM-ESD air-defence system. Although Fincantieri hasn’t released information or commented the AAW capabilities of the corvette, the combination of the MBDA SAAM-ESD with Aster 30 Block 1 missile system, the Leonardo Kronos AESA multifunction radar and the external early-detection information, all together can provide tactical ballistic missiles defence as similarly offered by the ground-based SAMP/T but with enhanced capabilities, Naval News understood. The inner layer defence is provided by RAM-System Mk 31 guided missile system with a 21-cell launching system for the RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) and two 30 mm Marlin-WS remotely control weapon systems. The Qatar MoD has acquired the RAM Block 2 munitions. The ASuW armament include two-quad launchers for MBDA Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles.