A €5 billion deal between Italy and Qatar for the construction of seven navy vessels is now official following an announcement made by Qatar’s foreign minister on Wednesday.
“I am pleased to announce the conclusion of a deal between the Qatari Emiri Naval Forces to buy seven naval units from Italy in the context of the joint military cooperation between the two countries,” regional media quoted Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as saying.
While the confirmation of the deal comes amid a row between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, warship construction talks between Qatar and Italy began in 2016.
Back in June 2016, Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri announced it would be building the warships for the Qatari Ministry of Defence with the only difference being the stated price. In 2016, Fincantieri said the deal was worth approx. 4 billion euros while Qatar’s foreign minister said the deal was worth 5 billion.
Seven surface vessels, of which four corvettes of over 100 meters in length, one amphibious vessel (LPD – Landing Platform Dock), and two patrol vessels (OPV – Offshore Patrol Vessel) are to be built under this contract.
Support services in Qatar for further 15 years after the delivery of the vessels are also included.
Fincantieri said all the units will be entirely built in Italian shipyards starting from 2018, and will take at least six years to complete.
Italian companies Leonardo-Finmeccanica and MBDA are also involved in the Qatari contract and will be responsible for the supply of the new naval units’ combat systems.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica will deliver main radars and on-board sensors and defence sub-systems, including 76/62 medium calibre and 30mm small calibre weapon systems, the anti-torpedo protection system and the Thesan mine avoidance sonar which is installed at the bow of the surface units.
MBDA will work on delivering the vessel’s missile systems.