The local Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB)is close to finalising an order with the UAE navy to supply six corvette-class vessels. The deal is valued at $500 million (MEED 6:4:02).
The contract for the 70-metre-long warships marks a departure for the shipyard, which has previously concentrated on building smaller patrol and commercial-type vessels. The order is the largest indigenous defence contract won by a local firm in the Gulf.
The new ships, called Baynunah, have been designed by France's Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie. As well as design services the French firm will provide technology transfer for the vessels' main hull and command and control systems. ADSB plans to market the Baynunah throughout the GCC.
In addition to the Baynunah programme, the yard has orders for 19 new vessels including three 64-metre conventional landing craft, two 40-metre barges and 12 24-metre aluminium landing craft.
ADSB - which is 30 per cent owned by Newport News Shipbuilding, part of the US' Northrop Grumman, 20 per cent by the UAE government, with the remaining stock held by UAE nationals - has invested $50 million in expanding its yard by 150,000 square metres over the last two years to cover some 200,000 square metres. It has already embarked on a third phase of growth, teaming up with Halmatic- part of the UK's Vosper Thornycroft- which is to provide the yard with advanced composite technology.
ADSB has acquired a site adjacent to its existing facilities in Mussafah for the Halmatic expansion programme. The UK's Halcrow Grouphas drawn up designs for the yard, which will be capable of moulding monocoque hulls up to 50 metres in length. ADSB expects to have the facility in operation by 2003 and expects to have some 100 small ship repairs coming through the facility every year (MEED 20:6:01).
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