The Falaj-class vessels, which include the Falaj 2-class and Falaj 3-class, are stealth patrol boats operated by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navy.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the UAE Navy contracted Italian shipyard Fincantieri to build two Falaj 2-class ships for the UAE Navy in 2010. Etihad Ship Building, a joint venture between Fincantieri, Al Fattan Ship Industries, and Melara Middle East, was responsible for the design and construction of the vessels.
Developed in the Fincantieri Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard, the vessels were named Ghantut and Qarnen and were commissioned in 2013. The contract also included an option to deliver two additional vessels under the Falaj-2 class.
In May 2021, state-owned military contractor Edge Group’s Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB), a shipbuilding company, received an AED3.5bn ($952.6m) contract to build four Falaj 3-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the UAE Navy. Construction of the first Falaj 3-class vessel for the UAE Navy began in December 2022.
Falaj 2-class vessels design and features
The Falaj 2-class Ghantut, or Ghantoot (P251), and the Qarnen, or Salahah (P252), vessels are based on the Italian Diciotti-class offshore patrol vessels. They are stealth attack vessels, with a length of 55m and a width of 8.6m. The vessels have a moulded depth of 5.5m and a full load displacement of approximately 520t.
The vessels are capable of reaching speeds of more than 20kt and can accommodate 28 crew members with high safety standards. Their geometry makes them difficult to be traced by radar. High capacity and flexibility allow the vessels to perform different types of missions such as patrolling, surveillance, and attacks against both land and sea targets in national and international operations.
Combat systems aboard Falaj 2-class vessels
The Falaj 2-class vessels are equipped with a data distribution unit, an external and an internal communication system, a navigation system, and a combat management system with data link.
The vessels are armed with a fire control system (FCS), 3D surveillance radars with identification friend or foe (IFF), and radar electronic support measures. They are also equipped with a stealth version of the 76mm SR main gun, two 12.7mm machine guns, a 2×2 ship-to-ship missile, a 2×3 ship-to-air missile, and an anti-air warfare decoy launching system with two launchers.
Falaj 2-class vessels propulsion systems
The vessel is powered by two MTU 16V 4,000 M90 engines, using two featherable controllable pitch propellers (FCPP) and four diesel generators. The vessels can reach a maximum speed of more than 20kt and have a range of 1,500nm at 14kt.
Falaj 3-class vessels design and features
Based on the Fearless-class platform, the Falaj 3-class patrol vessels are designed with stealth technology that reduces radar cross-section, and infrared, and acoustic signatures at sea.
They will be capable of operating in both littoral and blue waters, which can help in performing advanced naval duties in addition to combating the current asymmetric warfare challenges.
The vessels will have an overall length of 60m and a width of 9.5m. They will have a depth of 4.45m with a full load displacement of 641t, and can accommodate 39 individuals.
Falaj 3-class vessels will feature a state-of-the-art combat management system, sensors and weapons, enabling them to undertake warfare in the air, surface, and sub-surface dimensions. The vessels will have high chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) survivability, fire zones, and watertight protection. They comply with International Classification Society Naval Rules and US Navy Stability Requirements for ship survivability.
The fusion of radar, infrared, and laser technology will offer multiple sensor capabilities to the vessels, enabling them to detect and track every movement of adversaries.
Combat systems aboard Falaj 3-class vessels
Falaj 3 vessels will carry diverse weapons including missiles, rockets, and medium-calibre guns, making them capable of defending themselves from potential threats originating from any direction. Onboard decoy launchers will be installed to carry out soft-kill measures. The vessels will also be installed with the latest digitised integrated communication and navigation suites.
Falaj 3-class vessels propulsion systems
Falaj 3 vessels will be equipped with four high-power engines and four propellers, which will help in attaining speeds of more than 26kt. They will have four generators capable of producing 1.2MW of power. Equipped with an integrated platform management system, the vessels will have a wide array of safety and fire-fighting equipment, including a rigid hull inflatable boat.
ADSB contracted ST Engineering, an engineering company based in Singapore, to provide design, platform equipment, and technical assistance for the construction of four Falaj 3-class vessels in November 2021.