UAE buys patrol vessels from Edge Group, Fincantieri joint venture

UAE buys patrol vessels from Edge Group, Fincantieri joint venture

ROME — The United Arab Emirates’ coast guard has signed a €400 million (U.S. $435 million) deal to acquire 10 offshore patrol vessels from both a domestic defense conglomerate and an Italian shipbuilder, the companies announced Monday.

The deal follows the creation of a joint venture in February between the UAE’s Edge Group and Italy’s Fincantieri.

The companies will produce the 51-meter-long vessels as upgraded versions of Saettia-class ships, a type Fincantieri previously supplied to the Italian coast guard.

Edge Group holds a 51% stake in the joint venture, dubbed Maestral, but is leaning on Fincantieri’s shipbuilding expertise. The firms announced in February that they would market vessels to non-NATO countries.

“In just three months since first announcing the creation of this unique venture with Fincantieri, we are now announcing a significant national order for these sophisticated OPVs, to be built both here at our shipyards in Abu Dhabi, and in Italy,” said Faisal Al Bannai, who chairs Edge Group’s board of directors.

The deal reflects Fincantieri’s policy of collaborating with overseas partners on the local assembly of vessels, but based on its own designs, in order to secure export orders.

“It’s a win-win deal,” said Matteo Perego di Cremnago, Italy’s junior defense minister. The partnership, he added, includes “the transfer of know-how and technology.”

When it was first announced in February, the firms said their joint venture would aim to sell vessels to countries by leveraging the UAE’s background in government-to-government deals as well as its export credit financing packages.

The firms said they would also seek to co-develop midsize submarines.

State-controlled Fincantieri is Italy’s main naval contractor and is also building FREMM frigates for the U.S. Navy at its American yard.

Correction: A previous version of this story included an erroneous headline. The United Arab Emirates is the customer for the offshore patrol vessels.

Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.

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