The NAVDEX waterborne display area is expected to be packed with the kind of small, fast combat and patrol vessels that are attractive to a great many customers in the gulf region.
“There will continue to be a lot of focus in the coast guard and patrol vessel level,” predicted Bob Nugent, an independent naval analyst in Washington. “There is real strong growth in low-end counter-terrorism and high-end missile defense” in the region.
And despite a downturn in oil prices, the naval market continues to grow.
“Our forecast for new spending on naval platforms in the Middle East/Near Asia market continues to show steady and substantial growth,” said Amy McDonald, a naval market analyst with AMI International in Bremerton, Washington. “However, looking at the region, we’ve seen little movement on most surface combatant and submarine programs since the Qatar’s DIMDEX show in March. Most activity has been centered around small patrol craft and coast guard vessels.”
The warcraft on display at NAVDEX are expected to range from the 1,650-ton corvette Abu Dhabi and 930-ton Baynunah-class large patrol ships down to smaller missile, fast attack and patrol craft. The Baynunahs in particular will be a highlight, with hopefully the first of the units built locally by a joint venture of Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding and French shipbuilder CMN on display.
Daily live displays will feature craft such as the Ghannatha 27-meter fast patrol craft, built by Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding under an arrangement with Swede Marine Group.
Attendees will also be trying to gauge the effects of the leadership changes in Saudi Arabia. “You might see several reversals of course, but that’s likely to be an outcome of the change in leadership,” Nugent said.
“The UAE and Qatar also are countries of interest,” he added. “The UAE might make an award in their long-awaited corvette program. It might be another corvette to go with the Italian-built Abu Dhabi — maybe the same design or a different ship.”