UAE Reportedly Moves Forward with Gowind Corvette Buy

Egyptian Navy Gowind Corvette El Fateh (971). Image

The United Arab Emirates has reportedly finalized a contract for the procurement of at least two Gowind corvettes.

On June 7, French publication La Tribune reported that the UAE had completed a deal for two Gowind corvettes. The agreement, valued at around EUR750 million, was reportedly signed in March of this year, but was not announced. The Gowind corvettes, which are built by France’s Naval Group, are to come equipped with Raytheon’s RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles to protect from aerial threats as well as MM40 Exocet anti-shipping missiles, produced by MBDA.

In addition to the two on order, the UAE has an option for another two corvettes.

The Emirati purchase of the Gowind corvette was first announced in November 2017, when French President Emmanuel Macron stated while in Dubai that a deal had been reached.  Since then, however, the completion of the contract had been at an impasse for unspecified reasons. According to La Tribune, Naval Group CEO Hervé Guillou’s visit to the UAE in December 2018 was crucial in moving the deal forward.

However, the agreement still faces a potential challenge from Germany, which has been blocking the export of its military hardware to Saudi Arabia and the UAE since last year. The vessels are to be powered by German-made engines, giving Berlin a veto on the export customer.

La Tribune said that Naval Group offered no details.

Germany announced its ban on the export of arms to Saudi Arabia following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi agents inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.  Germany was already moving toward an embargo over the conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading a coalition to oust Ansar Allah, an Iranian-backed rebel group, from the capital, Sana’a. Germany announced a six-month renewal of the ban – which covers the UAE as well – earlier this year, despite lobbying from France and the U.K. to end it.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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