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Emirati Navy - Modernization

As of 1993 the most powerful units of the UDF navy were two Lürssen corvettes delivered by Germany in 1991, similar to those of the Bahraini navy. The corvettes were supplemented by fast-attack craft and large patrol boats. By the early 1990s, the Gulf states were putting exceptional importance on the question of building up and strengthening their naval forces invarious fields. By 1993 the United Arab Emirates had a naval force that should not be underestimated for its effectiveness and modernity. At that time, it was composed of 10 main combat units, including two missile picketships (corvettes), which were German-made Lurssen-62 class ships called "Murai Jib" by the UAE Navy. They were armed with French-built, surface-to-surface Exocet anti-ship missiles and surface-to-air anti-aircraft Sadral missiles, which was the UAE Navy's version of the French Mistral anti-aircraft missile. Each one also carried an Alouette-3 class helicopter for naval observation and patrol missions, as well as anti-ship and anti-submarine operations. In addition, the UAE fleet included two Lurssen-50 missile attack launches, known by the UAE name of "al-Mubarriz." They were also armed with Exocet and Sadral missiles. There were six missile attack launches of the Lurssen-45 class, known as "Baniyas." They were armed with Exocet missiles.

In 1996, the UAE issued tenders worth USD2 billion for frigates and fast patrol craft. Two Dutch Kortenaer-class frigates were delivered in 1997 and 1998 (these have since been laid up) and the UAE signed an agreement with the US Navy for the supply of Harpoon anti-ship missiles to be fitted to the two frigates. Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles were also acquired from the US company, Raytheon.

As of 2006 expected defense outlays for 2005-2008 included a dozen 68-meter Baynunah Class Guided Missile Boats built in the UAE from a French design, programmed for delivery starting in 2007, and equipped with U.S. missile defense systems at an estimated cost of over $200 million, six patrol boats worth $600 million from the French, and a single 130-meter ex-Kortenaer Class Frigate under negotiation with the Netherlands.

By 2007 the navy's inventory included two frigates, two corvettes, eight missile craft, six coastal patrol craft, five landing craft (tank), and two support and miscellaneous craft. Naval aviation had 11 helicopters and another seven helicopters in an antisurface warfare role. As part of the UAE's military modernization program, the navy is seeking to upgrade its bluewater capabilities with the construction of six Baynunah multirole corvettes in conjunction with French shipbuilder CMN and to enhance its amphibious capabilities through the acquisition of assault and landing craft as well as amphibious armored personnel carriers for its marine battalion. By 2010 the Navy had two frigates, two corvettes, eight fast patrol craft, 26 small patrol craft, 28 amphibious landing craft, but no dedicated support vessels. Its aviation wing consisted of 14 maritime attack and four maritime surveillance helicopters, providing a substantial over-the-horizon capability most of its peers lacked.

Over the medium term, the UAE may wish to acquire submarines: there have been reports of interest in two ex-German Navy Type 206 boats, with some training being conducted, and interest in ex-Italian Navy Toti-class boats. This would be in line with the concept of a balanced fleet, with both coastal and blue water functions. Improvements to anti-submarine warfare may be particularly relevant.

Both former United Arab Emirates UAE Navy frigates, acquired in 1997 and 1998, decommissioned in 2008. The Al Emirat and the Abu Dhabi were converted into a super luxury Giga yachts known as Swift 141 and Swift 135. One hull was used as the base of the Swift141, to be one of the most sophisticated private yachts in the world and, at 141 meters length overall, one of the longest yachts in the world. Under the banner of Abu Dhabi MAR, the 1200 employees of ADMShipyards in Abu Dhabi, UAE, directed by Dutch-born naval architect and marine engineer, Johan Valentijn. Mr Valentijn, in cooperation with key subcontractors and Paris-based Pierrejean Design Studio, reconfigured the vessel with the latest technology as well as modern interior and exterior styling. The frigate was built originally by De Schelde in Vlissingen for the Royal Dutch Navy as F811 (Piet Heyn), then transferred to the UAE after fulfilling her mission; she began a new life as a private yacht for an Emirati owner.

The Dutch Ambassador and Deputy Head of Mission in the UAE, invited to tour the vessel and ADM Shipyards facilities, expressed their admiration for the quality of the work and the meticulous attention to detail. Mr Valentijn said that to accomplish the Swift’s exciting new mission he assembled the best people from every corner of the world to form a highly qualified team of shipbuilding managers, and he employed many specialised subcontractors including several leading Dutch firms. The Swift141 was to be completed in 2012.

Contrary to an announcement of Drydocks World in Dubai, Lürssen had no plans to cooperate in general with Drydocks World in Dubai for the repair and maintenance of navy ships or yachts and no agreement relating to such work has been reached or agreed. Lürssen had no intention to form a joint setup with Drydocks World in the Dubai Maritime City facility.

The delivery ceremony of two vessels for the United Arab Emirates Navy was held January 08, 2013 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia). These were an "Abu Dhabi Class" corvette, launched in February 2011, and the "Ghantut" patrol vessel, launched at the same yard in January 2012. In the presence of Rear Admiral Ibrahim Salem Mohamed Al-Musharrakh, Head of the UAE Navy, Admiral Luigi Binelli Mantelli, Italian Navy Chief of Staff, who was represented on this occasion by Vice Admiral Alberto Gauzolino, Logistic Support and Light houses Inspector, Vice Admiral Andrea Toscano, Commander in Chief Northern Tyrrhenian Sea Department Italian Navy, Vice Admiral Ernesto Nencioni, Director for Naval Armaments and Alberto Maestrini, Fincantieri Executive Senior Vice President Naval Vessels, the ceremony began with the characteristic recitation of the Qur'an in accordance with the dictates of Islam.

Exemplifying Fincantieri's product excellence, both vessels stand out for their high level of flexibility in being able to carry out different types of mission in national and international waters (from patrol and surveillance, to defence against air and surface threats and attack against both land and sea targets), as well as for their high standards of accommodation and safety.

As evidence of the strategic importance of the Middle East market and the strong and fruitful partnership initiated with the Emirates, Fincantieri has set up the company Etihad Ship Building in Abu Dhabi as a joint venture with Al Fattan Ship Industries and Melara Middle East; the purpose of the company, which is already operational, is to design, construct and sell both civilian and military ships, as well as carry out maintenance and refitting. In fact, now more than ever, securing foreign orders means ships being built in local shipyards. It is therefore necessary to be suitably equipped to ensure that customers obtain quality and rapid delivery.

The United Arab Emirates closed a one-billion euro deal to buy two French-made Gowind 2500 navy corvettes, built for coastal surveillance and anti-submarine warfare, French President Emmanuel Macron said 09 November 2017 in Dubai. The deal for the Gowind-class corvettes built by France's Naval Group was announced at the end of a two-day visit to the UAE, an ally of France and longtime client of Western defense industries. Macron gave no details on the deal. International rights group, including Human Rights Watch, have criticised Western nations for profiting from arms sales to the Saudi-led military coalition battling Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, in which the UAE is a key member.

The deal also includes an option for two more vessels, the French presidency said in a statement. The agreement was signed by Abu Dhabi-based sovereign fund Mubadala and the French Caisse des Depots group, which have pledged to contribute 500 million euros ($580 million) each. In part, the fund serves as an extension of a 2014 collaboration between CDC International Capital, a subsidiary of Caisse des Depots, and Mubadala launched to support firms with “proven” growth potential, chiefly based in France. But the new fund goes further with a collaboration between Mubadala and Bpifrance, also a subsidiary of Caisse des Depots, that will aim to support innovation in France, whether start-ups or more mature companies.

Naval Group held the rope against three of its most dangerous competitors, the French CMN, the Dutch Damen, and the Italian Fincantieri, the same one who recently took control of Chantiers de l'Atlantique. Macron praised the close cooperation between France and the United Arab Emirates in the field of defense by visiting the naval base in the morning, where some of the 700 French soldiers based in Abu Dhabi are stationed.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly on Thursday hailed United Arab Emirates (UAE)'s order of two Gowind-class corvettes from the state-owned shipbuilder Naval Group, calling it "a new success for French exports ... This decision further strengthens the strategic and military partnership between France and UAE," the minister said. "Exports of military equipment are part of France's defense and security policy. Vital to our defense industry and the equipment of our armed forces, they also contribute to our country's strategic autonomy and influence," she added.

Abu Dhabi has expressed a keen interest in this type of high-seas and heavily armed corvettes in a tense regional context not only with Iran but also with Turkey, which has set up its first military base in Africa (near Mogadishu in Somalia). ). Already in war against the Houtis in Yemen, the UAE also seems very anxious to defend the access of the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb " guarded " by Aden and Mogadishu. It is also one of the priorities of Egypt, the ally of the UAE.

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Page last modified: 16-11-2017 18:38:28 ZULU