During French President Emmanuel Macron’s November 2017 visit to the UAE, the two countries officially announced that Abu Dhabi had chosen to acquire the Gowind corvette. The deal offers the potential for two additional vessels, potentially resulting in a total of four corvettes.
The corvettes were constructed through a collaborative effort between Naval Group and Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding (ADSB), a local shipbuilder. During the programme, Naval Group aimed to facilitate the transfer of technology and know-how to UAE institutions and the naval ecosystem, with the goal of enhancing the domestic industry’s capabilities.
The projected contract allocation for four units of these corvettes over 2023–33 is expected to amount to approximately $1.5bn. The overall contract value for these corvettes amounts to $1.7bn, with an anticipated per unit price of approximately $425m.
“This day marks a symbolic milestone: the delivery of Bani Yas Gowind Combat corvette, first unit of this program. Bani Yas and Al Emarat Gowind Combat corvettes are made to be the best answer to the UAE Naval Forces operational requirements. This program symbolises our joint commitment to deliver the best and is for sure the first step in a strong cooperation and longterm strategic partnership with the UAE.” said Pierre Eric Pommellet, CEO of Naval Group.
Gowind corvettes are multi-mission surface combatants for naval defence operations and maritime security roles. Displacing 2,800 tonnes, the Bani Yas is 102 metres in length with an overall beam of 16 metres, and is designed to be highly manoeuvrable and sturdy. Naval-Group make much of its automated systems for user friendly operations, latest generation sensors and smart deployable assets.
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The UAE is actively enhancing its naval capabilities, according to GlobalData’s report ‘The UAE Defense Market 2023-2028’, with a growing focus on developing expeditionary warfare abilities. The Emirati Navy has historically focused on coastal defence as its main mission, and it is currently working towards enhancing its capabilities for limited bluewater operations.
As part of this effort, the Navy placed an order for two Gowind-class corvettes built by French Naval Group (DCNS), with plans plans to acquire Falaj 2-class patrol vessels built by Italian Fincantieri. The UAE is currently engaged in the construction of four Falaj 3-class OPVs for its esteemed navy.
The Falaj-3 class is known for its versatility and reliability as an offshore patrol vessel, making it well-suited for various missions such as maritime security and search and rescue operations. It is anticipated that these vessels will be equipped with the Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, SETIS combat management system, and MBDA Exocet anti-ship missiles.