Rome is among Doha’s key international defence partners.
Qatar took part in the launching ceremony of the ‘Al Fulk’ warship in Italy’s Palermo shipyard on Wednesday.
In a statement on Wednesday, Italian shipbuilding giant Fincantieri, which manufactured the Landing Platform Dock vessel, said the ship was ordered by Qatar’s defence ministry “within the national naval acquisition programme”.
“The LPD, built entirely by Italian shipyards, is designed consistent with the RINAMIL (rules for naval ships classification) rules to ensure extremely efficient land-air-marine connections,” Fincantieri explained in a statement.
The event was attended by Qatar’s Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr. Khalid Al Attiyah and Italian Minister of Defence Guido Crosetto, along with other officials from both countries.
Measuring at least 143 metres long, the ship has the capacity to carry around 550 people and can be stored on a garage deck.
“It will be highly flexible and capable of fulfilling different kinds of tasks, from humanitarian interventions to support the Armed Forces and land operations,” Fincantieri added.
Qatar-Italy defence ties
Italy is among Qatar’s key defence partners, with both countries sharing numerous agreements in the field.
In 2017, Qatar sealed a more than $5 billion deal with Italy for the construction of seven navy vessels following talks that took place between the two countries in 2016.
The Qatari defence ministry had struck the deal with Fincantieri, for four corvettes, one amphibious vessel, and two offshore patrol vessels.
The corvettes measured 2,800 tonnes and included a helicopter deck.
By 2021, Fincantieri also released the third Al Zubarah-Class air defence corvettes, used for both surveillance and as fighting vessels whilst having a capacity of 112 persons. The ships have a weapon system and ballistic missiles defence abilities.
Also in 2017, Fincantieri agreed to establish a branch in Doha as a subsidiary licensed by the Qatar Financial Centre.
The agreement was key to ensure the company can provide logistical support in the design and construction process of the Italian ships.
In 2020, Fincantieri signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the MOD’s Barzan Holding in a bid to strengthen their partnerships.
Last year, Italy joined other countries in helping maintain security at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“Italy and Qatar nowadays enjoy a partnership based on high level institutional and political dialogue, solid trade figures, successful investments, rich cultural bonds. A spearhead of such collaboration is the defence sector, thanks to the mutual trust built between our Armed Forces,” Paolo Toschi, Italy’s ambassador to Qatar, said last year.