Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding mulls corvette design for GCC market

Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding (ADSB) is developing a multirole corvette solely to export into the GCC market, which, should it occur, would see the UAE taking the first steps in creating a viable ship design and manufacturing capability.

Few details exist at present, although a digital datasheet and model (pictured) displayed at IDEX 2019 in Abu Dhabi indicated a variety of possible options for the vessel. This included a range between 60-80m, a maximum breadth of 9.5m and draft of about 2.5m.

A maximum speed of 28kt was listed, with a range at 16kt in sea state 3 of 2000nm. The vessel would have an endurance of up to 14 days.

Potential roles include ASuW, AAW, naval gunfire support and protection against asymmetric threats.

An ADSB official told Shephard that the programme could see a ‘single-figure’ number of platforms built for export into the GCC.

The programme was still ‘at an early stage’ regarding the exact specifications of the platform but the focus would be around EEZ operations, the official added. Depending on customer requirements the ship’s systems could change in order to fulfil a specific role.

Meanwhile negotiations continue between industry and the UAE for the delivery of two Bani Yas corvettes to the UAE Navy. Although a range of European shipbuilders were initially mooted as being contenders, an order in November 2017 by the UAE of two Gowind corvettes from Naval Group, with an option for two more built by ADSB, pointed to the direction that the UAE was taking.

Literature distributed by Naval Group at IDEX stated that the acquisition will provide the UAE Navy with its ‘two flagships and a decisive ASW force’. However, exact specifications of the vessel remain unclear.

A Naval Group spokesperson would only state that discussions regarding the Bani Yas programme were ‘going well’. The ADSB official would not comment on Bani Yas. 

However, one industry official said that Naval Group’s presence in the programme was ‘theirs to lose’.

Interestingly, a contract valued at AED93,740,000 ($25.5 million) with Thales to buy a CAPTAS-type sonar for the UAE Navy, was announced at the event. 

The UAE’s Abu Dhabi corvette is designated as an ASW-capable platform, but it is not clear where the unspecified CAPTAS array would be for this vessel or potentially the Bani Yas programme.