Fincantieri press release
At the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, H.E. Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, and Italian Minister of Defense, Guido Crosetto, the launching ceremony of “Al Fulk”, the amphibious vessel (LPD – Landing Platform Dock) ordered to Fincantieri by the Qatari Ministry of Defence within the national naval acquisition program, took place at the Palermo shipyard.
The ceremony was attended, among others, by Staff Major General (Sea) Abdullah Hassan Al- Sulaiti, Commander of Qatar Emiri Naval Forces, Admiral Enrico Credendino, Chief of Staff of Italian Navy, Lieutenant General Luciano Portolano, Secretary General of Defence and National Armaments Director, H.E. Khalid bin Yousef Al-Sada, the Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Italy, Paolo Toschi, Ambassador of Italy to Qatar, Renato Schifani, President of Sicily, Roberto Lagalla, Mayor of Palermo, welcomed by Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Fincantieri.
The LPD, built entirely by Italian shipyards, is designed consistent with the RINAMIL (rules for naval ships classification) rules to ensure extremely efficient land-air-marine connections. It will be highly flexible and capable of fulfilling different kinds of tasks, from humanitarian interventions to support the Armed Forces and land operations.
The ship is about 143 meters long, 21.5 meters wide and it will be able to accommodate about 550 persons on board, equipped with two vehicle ramps and an internal floodable dock, capable of accommodating a ready-to-go LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) that can also be stored on garage deck, and can be deployed using a system of davits. Furthermore, the flight deck is sized for hosting NH90 helicopter.
Naval News comments:
The main mission of the vessel will be air defense. It will work in conjunction with the Al Zubarah-class air defense corvettes and share long range air picture with them. The LPD will be fitted with a Kronos multifunction radar (similar to the one fitted on the corvettes) as well as a new L-Band radar by Leonardo known as Kronos Power Shield. Naval News understands this radar was too large to be fitted on the corvette, this is why this solution (corvette + LPD) was proposed to fit the unique requirement of the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces.
During DIMDEX 2022, Naval News learned from Leonardo:
For early warning, the L-Band multifuncational fully digital AESA radar Kronos Power Shield performs an instrumental range up to 1,500 km. It can provide surface combat vessels with enhanced anti-tactical ballistic missile (ATBM) capabilities up to TBM600 and TBM1300 early warning.
Another unique feature of this LPD is the fact it is fitted with 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 LPD, the combination of the MBDA SAAM-ESD with Aster 30 Block 1 missile system, the Leonardo Kronos AESA multifunction radar and the early-detection information from the Kronos Power Shield, all together can provide tactical ballistic missiles defense as similarly offered by the ground-based SAMP/T but with enhanced capabilities, Naval News understood.
The ships will be fitted with the Sylena MK2 decoy launching systems by Lacroix.
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.
Our coverage of the LPD during DIMDEX 2022: