Three craft delivered for Kuwaiti Navy
Three of the eight P-37BRL-type patrol craft ordered by Kuwait from Cherbourg shipbuilders Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) are afloat and the first, numbered P-3711, has started sea trials. The 42-meter vessels were ordered in May 1995 at a reported cost of $480 million. Names still have not been announced, but priority probably will be given to naming them after ships sunk or captured by the Iraqis during their 1990 invasion.
The P-3711 and a sister are largely complete but will remain at Cherbourg until fittings and subsystems for the British Aerospace Sea Skua light antiship missiles are fitted. Overall weapon system design and integration will be carried out by CMN, but the missiles themselves will be installed in Kuwait. The two ships are scheduled to be handed over in the spring of 1998 and to sail for the Gulf in midsummer. Later vessels will have the Sea Skua missiles fitted by CMN during construction.
Each craft will be manned by two crews, 30 officers and men per crew, which means that, with support personnel included, a total of 800 people will be required. This will not be an easy goal to meet from the existing pool of some 2,000 Kuwaiti Navy personnel, so some recruitment of expatriate specialists seems inevitable.
The long and hard missile battle between British Aerospace and France’s Aerospatiale was not won until the last minute. Although CMN and the Kuwaiti Navy both favored the Sea Skua option, the French, backed at the highest government level-up to President Chirac-succeeded in delaying a decision on the grounds that the MM-15 missile might be cheaper.
Copyright Navy League of the United States Nov 1997
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