x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE and Italy navies boost cooperation

The two militaries are looking to create partnerships in the development of maritime weaponry technologies, according to Italy's navy chief of staff.

ABU DHABI // The Italian and UAE navies will increase cooperation and joint partnerships after the delivery of the first UAE Abu Dhabi Class Stealth ship today at Idex.

The Italian navy's chief of staff, Adm Giuseppe De Giorgi, said yesterday on the sidelines of the Gulf Defence Conference, that the two militaries were looking to create partnerships in the development of maritime weaponry technologies.

"We have several things that we will be discussing with the UAE navy. We are thinking to develop together weapons systems and embarked aviators like helicopters that are used on ships like the one the UAE just acquired," he said.

The new Abu Dhabi Class Stealth ship's main missions are long and medium-range patrols, primarily for surveillance but also for combat.

The unique design of its hull and superstructure has reduced its thermal and electromagnetic signatures, giving it stealth capability.

The design incorporates low radar and infrared signatures, and it has a flight deck with access to a hangar.

The reduction to the craft's radar signature allows it to carry out a variety of tasks, ranging from surveillance to checking sea waters for illicit traffickers.

The ship was built after a transfer technology agreement between Italy and the UAE to conceive Etihad Ship Building in Abu Dhabi, which is a joint venture between Italian giant Fincantieri and Al Fattan Ship Industries.

The ship operates with a crew of 80 and eight officers and has an overall length of 88.4 metres. The full load displacement is 1,520 tonnes, and it has a range of 3,500 nautical miles.

Adm De Giorgi hopes to sign an agreement to secure military training for Emirati sailors in Italy.

"What I hope is to start joint programmes to train our crews together in Italy at the training centres that are optimised to train crews of these kinds of ships. The UAE navy crew can really benefit," he said.

According to Adm De Giorgi, the stealth ship features new technology that enables small-calibre guns to cause surgical damage to the opposition.

"In the old days you could use only big guns, but now these new technologies can provide coastal fire support from the sea with the 76mm Automilara guns," he said. He added that guns present in the new ship could saturate an entire area with fire, with each mount having its own guidance system that is developed to reduce collateral damage due to precision targeting.