Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) – a subsidiary of UAE EDGE Group has signed a ‘landmark’ deal with Angola to supply the African nation with a fleet of corvettes and small watercraft in a 1 billion euro deal with the UAE shipbuilder.
The “landmark” contract, announced on 20 February to coincide with the IDEX defence show (20-24 February), will see the construction of “a fleet” of 71 metre BR71 Mk II corvettes. The contract is a landmark for the UAE shipbuilder, part of the Edge conglomerate, and is the largest export deal in the company’s history.
The deal covers three BR71 Mk II corvettes and an undisclosed number of Edge-designed smaller boats, as well as training and UAVs. Edge subsidiary ADASI produces the Garmoosha and Al Sabr S-100, based on Schiebel’s Camcopter RWUAS.
Khalid Al Breiki, President – of Platforms & Systems, Edge said: “Signing a EUR1 billion defence export deal represents a momentous achievement for Edge as well as ADSB. This demonstrates our strategic approach and steadfast commitment to increasing national exports in line with the UAE Leadership’s directive.”
David Massey, CEO of ADSB, said: “The BR71 Mk II corvette is a highly advanced vessel capable of performing multiple missions to secure Angola’s 1 600 km coastline. We look forward to fulfilling the Angolan Navy’s operational requirements and strengthening their naval capabilities while expanding ADSB’s avenues of growth.”
ADSB is the prime contractor for the programme, which also includes France’s CMN Naval. Although the workshare has yet to be announced, CMN Naval will likely build the first ship in France and subsequent corvettes will come from ADSB in the UAE. Under the four-year Angolan programme, the first vessel will be delivered in around two years. The deal also includes a transfer of technology allowing Angola to build small boats and potentially assist the country in building larger corvette-sized platforms in future. ADSB will also undertake combat systems integration elements of the work.
The Combattante BR71 Mk II is an advanced variant of the Baynunah class (BR 71 design) corvette developed by French shipyard CMN, a part of Privinvest Shipbuilding Group. The vessel is designed for littoral warfare defence operations against air and surface threats, patrolling tasks, law enforcement and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
It has a crew of 50 and a maximum speed of 30 knots, with a range of 2 500 nautical miles at 12 knots. Four MTU engines drive two steerings and two booster water jets. It can accommodate a 5-ton class helicopter on a rear deck and two six-metre RHIBs.
The primary weapon is a 76 or 57-mm cannon, backed by two 20 or 30 mm cannons. It can also launch Exocet anti-ship missiles and well as surface-to-air missiles.
The vessels will help Angola patrol its 1,600km coastline. The three corvettes will carry a 3D radar, electronic warfare suite, secure communications, main gun and surface-to-surface radar. The ships will likely carry a Leonardo Kronos family radar, similar to that which will equip the Falaj-3 corvettes being built by ADSB for the UAE Navy.
Edge platform and systems president Khalid Al Breiki said: ‘Signing a EUR 1 billion defence export deal represents a momentous achievement for EDGE as well as ADSB.
The deal is a crucial development for the Emirati shipbuilder, which has been building up the country’s indigenous shipbuilding capabilities. ADSB has built half a dozen Baynunah class corvettes for the UAE Navy, with the lead ship constructed in France by CMN. The export order also allows ADSB to reduce its reliance on the UAE government as a customer, ensuring its viability for the future by diversifying its customer base. ADSB sees potential for more export deals to countries on Africa’s east and west coasts as it looks to become a significant regional player in the shipbuilding market.
The Angolan Navy has previously contracted the French company CMN for naval vessels, it recently took delivery of the first of three Ocean Eagle trimaran patrol boats from French shipbuilder CMN (Construction Mecanique de Normandie) last November. The 43.6 meters long and 15.2 meters wide trimaran-type patrol boat is designed by Nigel Irens Design and made of composite materials at iXblue shipyard in La Ciotat instead of CMN facility in Cherbourg because the latter no longer works on these types of materials.
Angola already operates patrol boats from CMN, including HSI 32 high-speed patrol craft. A 495 million contract between Angola and Privinvest in 2016 was to see the establishment of a shipyard in Angola and the supply of several naval vessels.