The technical launch of air defense corvette “Al Zubarah”, the first of the Doha-class ordered to Fincantieri by the Qatari Ministry of Defence within the national naval acquisition program, took place today at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Muggiano (La Spezia). The first of the Doha-class corvette is named after a ruined and ancient fort located on the north western coast of the Qatar peninsula in the Al Shamal municipality, about 105 km from the Qatari capital of Doha.
The keel for Al Zubarah was laid in November 2018, and the ship is expected to be delivered by 2021. Al Zubarah is the first of four corvettes being built by the Italian shipbuilder for Qatar under an EUR 4 billion contract awarded in 2016 that also includes the design and supply of a landing platform dock and two offshore patrol vessels. All 7 vessels, four air defense corvettes, two OPVs and one amphibious vessel will be produced in Italy by 2024. Fincantieri will then provide support to Qatar over a period of 10 years after their commissioning.
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Al Zubarah will be a flexible type of ship capable of fulfilling a range of tasks, from surveillance with sea rescue capabilities to being a fighting vessel, being about 107 meters long, 14.70 meters wide, with a maximum speed of 28 knots. The ship is a derivative of the Italian Comandante class, and has an overall length of 107 m and a displacement of about 3,000 tonnes. The unit will be provided with a combined diesel and diesel plant (CODAD) and will be able to accommodate 112 persons on board. . The flight deck and hangar will be sized for hosting one NH90 helicopter.
The Doha-class corvettes will primary serve for air defense missions and therefore will have a very substantial firepower for their size. They will be fitted with:
- 16 Aster 30 Block 1NT surface-to-air missiles by MBDA,
- 8 Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles by MBDA,
a 76mm main gun and 2 Marlins remote weapons stations by Leonardo,
- a RAM launcher (21 missiles) by Raytheon
- 4 Sylena Mk2 decoy launchers by Lacroix