Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company hopes to start negotiations with the UAE navy on the sale of up to 12 missile patrol boats worth more than $500 million. William Saltzer, manager of marketing and contracts at the company, known as ADSB, said a concept design of the 58 m vessel has already been prepared together with France's Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) and the UAE navy. But he said the equipment has yet to be finalized. "Negotiations could start as soon as the government is ready," Saltzer said. "We will only have to finalize the selection of equipment," he added. Saltzer was speaking at the fifth International Defense Exhibition (IDEX (IEX)
) in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi, where some 850 international firms from 42 countries are displaying products.
Saltzer estimated the cost of 12 vessels to be more than $500 million, but said that the exact amount depended on the equipment, which he said was the most expensive part of the vessels. "This is without question the single most important project that we worked on at Abu Dhabi Ship Building," Saltzer said.
Newport News Shipbuilding of the United States owns 40 percent of ADSB, while the rest is held by UAE investors and the UAE government. France's CMN is in the process of acquiring a 10 percent stake of Newport News Shipbuilding in ADSB. The two Western firms are providing expertise to ADSB to consolidate naval shipbuilding operations in the UAE. ADSB earlier this year signed a $13.6 million contract to upgrade six missile boats for the UAE navy. ADSB was set up in 1995 as a joint venture between Newport News Shipbuilding, the Abu Dhabi government and private UAE investors. - (Reuters)