The delivery of the corvette “Al Khor” (F103), the third of the Al Zubarah-class of four vessels ordered to Fincantieri by the Qatari Ministry of Defence within the national naval acquisition program, took place at the Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard. The ceremony was attended by Staff Major General Hilal Al Muhannadi, Defense Attaché of the State of Qatar in Rome, Major General Hassan Rashid Al Ali, Head of QAF Projects, Brigadier General Abdulla Al Mazroey, Deputy Chief of the Qatar Navy and Commander of the Flottilla, Mr Ahmed Mohammed AlShebani, representative of Qatar Embassy, Rear Admiral Giuseppe Scorsone, Director of Maritime Military Arsenal of La Spezia, and by Andrea Viero, Senior Vice President Market Development and Innovation Naval Vessels Division of Fincantieri.
The Al Zubarah class or Doha class is a class of corvettes built by Fincantieri for the Qatari Emiri Navy. Fincantieri showcased for the first time the multi-role air defence corvettes for the Qatari Emiri Navy during DIMDEX 2018. In August 2017, Qatar officially announced for the order of the four ships of the class after signing the contract in June 2016. 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.
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 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.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica will deliver main radars and on-board sensors and defense sub-systems, including 76/62 medium caliber and 30mm small caliber weapon systems, an anti-torpedo protection system and the Thesan mine avoidance sonar which is installed at the bow of the surface units. MBDA will be responsible for delivering missile systems for the ships, which, according to the vertical launch cells seen on an illustration of the Al Zubarah shared by Fincantieri, could include Exocet missiles.