Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri officially started construction of the first of two Qatari Navy offshore patrol vessels in a ceremony at its Muggiano shipyard on February 27.
The two OPVs will be built as part of a larger, 4 billion euro, contract which will see Finantieri deliver a total of seven surface vessels to the Qatari defense ministry.
All the units will be entirely built in Italy and Fincantieri will provide support services in Qatar for further 10 years after the delivery of the vessels.
The OPVs will be 63 meters long, 9.2 meters wide, and will achieve a maximum speed of 30 knots. Crewed by 38 sailors, the OPVs will be multi-purpose units used in surveillance as well as warfare.
The propulsion system has four variable pitch propellers, two to starboard and two to the left, each in line with a diesel propulsion engine. Furthermore, the vessel will be capable of operating a RHIB (Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat) through a crane located at the stern.
The Qatari OPVs are based on Fincantieri’s 60-meter Fast Attack Craft with the addition of eight vertical launch system cells for MBDA’s MICA surface to air missiles.