In 1992 Qatar ordered four Barzan (Vita) Class fast strike craft for the Qatar Emiri Navy from British shipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft at Southampton. The first two ships QENS Barzan and Huwar were handed over in 1996 and the final two ships QENS Al Udeid and QENS Al Deebel were delivered in 1998.
Barzan fast attack craft design
The design is a derivative of the Vosper Thornycroft 56m patrol craft built for Oman and Kenya, with a redesigned internal arrangement and superstructure to provide a second deck at tank level.
Modifications to the hull included increasing the freeboard amidships and flaring the topsides to widen the beam at the weatherdeck. The hull and superstructure design has incorporated features for reduction of radar cross section. Active roll-damping fin stabilisers have been added for operation in high Sea States.
Command and control
The combat data system is the Thales Nederland (formerly Signaal) SEWACO FD with the fully distributed Thales TACTICOS combat management system and a Link Y communications link.
TACTICOS provides automatic threat assessment, weapon assignment and sensor allocation. Weapons control is provided by the Thales Nederland STING radar / electro-optic director and the IRSCAN infrared search and track system provides passive surveillance for the Goalkeeper close-in weapon system.
Track data is provided to the Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun by the STING fire control radar and electro-optical tracking system. Tracking is supported by television, optional infrared camera tracking and laser rangefinder. The system provides sector search with automatic target detection, projectile location and kill-assessment.
Exocet and Mistral missiles
The Barzan (Vita) class is equipped with two four-cell launchers for MBDA (formerly Aerospatiale-Matra) MM40 Exocet surface-to-surface sea-skimming missiles. With a range of 4km to 70km, the Exocet missile has inertial cruise guidance, active radar homing, and a warhead of 165kg. The cruise height of the missile is about 100m and in the terminal sea-skimming phase the height is 5m to 8m.
The surface-to-air missile system is the MBDA (formerly Matra BAe Dynamics) Sadral six-cell launcher for the Mistral missile. The infrared guided Mistral has a range of 4km. The warhead, consisting of 1kg of high explosive and loaded with 2kg of tungsten balls, is fitted with an impact and laser proximity fuse.
The gun is the Oto Melara 76mm / 62 Super Rapid, with 85° elevation, delivery 120 rounds a minute, and a range of 16km. The shell weight is 6kg. The ammunition supply and feed system for the gun is installed below the deck. The feed magazine usually contains 70 rounds, while another ten rounds are in the upper mounting and in the screw feeder. The mounting control console is below-decks and linked to the Thales Nederland Sting fire control system.
The close-in-weapon system is the 30mm Goalkeeper from Thales Nederland. Goalkeeper automatically performs initial search through to destruction and kill-assessment. When the target is detected, threat evaluation and priority are determined, the target is designated and tracked by the I- and K-band radars.
Goalkeeper has seven barrels with a combined delivery rate of 4,200 rounds a minute and a range of 200m to 3km. The Vita class is also equipped with two 12.7mm machine guns.
Countermeasures include the Sagem Défense Sécurité (formerly EADS Defence & Electronics) Dagaie Mk 2 chaff dispensers, Thales DR3000S electronic support measures and Thales Salamandre ARBB 33 radar jammer.
The air and surface search radar is the Thales MRR-3D multi-role radar operating at G band. The I-band navigation radar is Kelvin Hughes 1007 and the I/J band fire-control radar is the STING from Thales Nederland.
The Barzan is driven by four MTU 20V 538 TB93 diesels, 18,740hp, in two machinery spaces, each driving a fixed-pitch propeller. One man operation from the bridge of the propulsion, electrical generation and auxiliary systems is possible using a machinery control and surveillance system. The maximum speed is 35kt and the range is in excess of 1,800nm at 12kt.