At the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, H.E. Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, and Italian Minister of Defense, Guido Crosetto, the launching ceremony of “Al Fulk”, the amphibious vessel (LPD – Landing Platform Dock) ordered to Fincantieri by the Qatari Ministry of Defence within the national naval acquisition program, took place at the Palermo shipyard. The ‘Al Fulk’ is a variant of the San Giusto-class amphibious vessel (LPD – Landing Platform Dock). The San Giusto-class have been extensively modified into landing helicopter docks. They accommodate a full-length flight deck with four landing spots.
The ceremony was attended, among others, by Staff Major General (Sea) Abdullah Hassan Al-Sulaiti, Commander of Qatar Emiri Naval Forces, Admiral Enrico Credendino, Chief of Staff of Italian Navy, Lieutenant General Luciano Portolano, Secretary General of Defence and National Armaments Director, H.E. Khalid bin Yousef Al-Sada, the Ambassador of the State of Qatar to Italy, Paolo Toschi, Ambassador of Italy to Qatar, Renato Schifani, President of Sicily, Roberto Lagalla, Mayor of Palermo, welcomed by Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Fincantieri.
The Landing Platform Dock, 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. The Al Fulk will have a 16-cell vertical launch system for Aster 15 and Aster 30 surface-to-air missiles. It will also be able to carry Leonardo’s 76/62-millimeter Super Rapid gun and MARLIN-WS 30-millimeter remotely-controlled guns. Leonardo says the power shield has been specifically designed for naval tactical ballistic missile (TBM) surveillance and defence and that it has the resolution to discriminate between missile boosters and re-entry vehicles.
The ship is about 143 meters long, 21.5 meters wide and it will be able to accommodate about 550 persons on board, equipped with two vehicle ramps and an internal floodable dock, capable of accommodating a ready-to-go LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) that can also be stored on garage deck, and can be deployed using a system of davits.Furthermore, the flight deck is sized for hosting NH90 helicopter. It will be highly flexible and capable of fulfilling different kinds of tasks, from humanitarian interventions to support the Armed Forces and land operations.