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Fincantieri launches LPD for Qatar

The Qatari LPD Al Fulk in the dry dock at Fincantieri's Palermo yard before its launch on 24 January. (Fincantieri)

Fincantieri launched the landing platform dock (LPD) amphibious assault ship it is building for Qatar at its shipyard in Palermo on 24 January, confirming it is equipped with vertical launch systems (VLSs).

Photographs of Al Fulk (L 141) show a box for the VLS has been attached to the ship's starboard side close to the end of the flight deck that looks sufficiently deep to accommodate the MBDA Aster 30 long-range surface-to-air missile.

A model displayed at the DIMDEX show held in Qatar in March 2018 showed 16 VLS cells located behind the ship's superstructure on the starboard side, although this was moved to its actual position for a model displayed during DIMDEX 2022.

Al Fulk has the same Kronos Grand mutifunction radar as the corvettes but has not yet been fitted with the second radar shown on the rear of its superstructure in both models. The 2018 model showed this with a wide, rotating antenna, which reportedly represented Leonardo's new, fully digital Kronos Power Shield. The 2022 model had a radar with a narrower rotating antenna that looked more like the power shield that has been installed on the new Italian landing helicopter dock (LHD) Trieste .

Leonardo says the power shield has been specifically designed for naval tactical ballistic missile (TBM) surveillance and defence and that it has the resolution to discriminate between missile boosters and re-entry vehicles.

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