The latest visit of Italian frigate 'Carlo Margottini' to Qatar underlines the strong military partnership between the Italian and Qatari navies, especially focusing on training programmes and education, continuous contact and exchange of best practices, Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano has said.
The second visit of 'Carlo Margottini' to Doha, until March 5, forms part of the naval campaign in the Middle East and Arabian Sea, aimed at "ensuring presence and surveillance for the protection of sea lines of communication of national interest".
Officials from the Qatar Amiri Naval Forces with Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano (left). Picture courtesy of the Ministry of Defence Twitter page
In a statement Sunday, the Directorate of Defence Communication at Qatar's Ministry of Defence said the aim of the frigate's visit is to participate in the 'Transit' exercise with the Qatari Amiri Navy, in addition to strengthening relations between the two friendly countries, as reported by the official Qatar News Agency.
“This new visit of the 'Margottini' – along with the former visits of the 'sister' frigates ‘Carabiniere’ and ‘Martinengo’ – confirms the solid commitment of the Italian navy to continue to co-operate with the Qatari navy and shows how close and dynamic our partnership is,” Salzano told reporters at a press conference held on board the frigate at Doha Port yesterday.
The envoy said 'Margottini' will conduct co-operation activities with the Qatari navy during its journey, while “contributing to promoting our national industry – specifically Italian companies Fincantieri, Leonardo, MBDA and Elettronica, which designed, built and equipped this advanced multi-purpose frigate”.
Leonardo designed, produced and integrated the core technologies of the ship, namely the combat management system, key radars and sensors, communications and defence systems.
The same high level of capabilities, particularly the advanced naval technologies available on board the 'Margottini' vessel, will also be provided to Qatar’s new seven ships, which the Qatar Amiri Naval Forces will start receiving in 2021, the press conference was told. “This vessel embodies all Italy’s well-known assets: innovation and creativity applied to the industrial design and highly customised manufacturing,” Salzano said. “It is a clear sample of the excellence reached by Italian companies in the shipbuilding sector and specialised naval equipment.”
Leonardo will be responsible for the integrated supply of the combat system, main radars and onboard sensors and defence sub-systems for the ships, including 76/62 and 30mm weapon systems, an anti-torpedo protection system and, in co-operation with MBDA, the missile system.
The supply also includes long-term, integrated logistics support activities, according to the company.
Salzano said Qatar will also start receiving its NH90 helicopters by the end of 2021, months before the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while joint training activities involving Qatari pilots, the Italian army and navy have already started in Italy.
“In this respect, Italy represents for Qatar much more than a reliable industrial partner in the supply of naval units: by providing advanced training for the Qatari personnel - namely for the navy’s future leaders,” Salzano said. “We are together laying the foundation for stable and strong bilateral relations, not only for the present but most importantly for the future.”
The NH90 has been chosen by Qatar and Leonardo is the prime contractor for the 28 NH90 helicopter programme agreement signed during the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference 2018.
“Over the years, Italy has built on very strong naval traditions, based on the dedication and the professionalism of the proud women and men which form the Italian navy, whose skills have kept pace with industrial developments and technological innovation,” Salzano stressed.