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UAE Navy orders four Falaj 3 OPVs

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE’s) Ministry of Defence has awarded Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) an AED3.5 billion (USD953 million) contract to build four Falaj 3 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the UAE Navy, the company announced on 18 May.

Describing the Falaj 3 as a “highly flexible and versatile” OPV that can be used for a wide range of missions, ADSB said the contract is the largest it has ever received.

In a stock exchange announcement released in February, ADSB reported that it had received a letter of award for the four Falaj 3s in the fourth quarter of 2020, saying the precise start date had yet to be agreed.

David Massey, the company’s CEO, told Janes that it now has a signed contract for the five-year programme to build all four OPVs in the UAE.

He dismissed comparisons between the Falaj 3 and the 55 m-long Falaj 2 class that Fincantieri built in Italy for the UAE Navy, which commissioned both in 2013. While they will look like slightly larger versions, Fincantieri is not involved in the project and underneath the new ships will be more like the Fearless class that ST Marine built for Singapore’s navy, he said.

“It will share a lot more in terms of capabilities and weapon systems with Baynunah,” he added, referring to the class of six corvettes that ADSB built for the UAE Navy in collaboration with France’s CMN.

While both the Baynunah and Falaj 2 have Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles and 76 mm guns, the former has RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow and RIM-116 RAM surface-to-air missiles, while the latter only has short-range VL-MICA missiles for air defence.

Massey said the combat management system and radar for the Falaj 3 have yet to be selected.

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