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UK agrees to build naval ships for Ukraine
Journal Staff Report

KYIV, Oct 7 - Ukraine signed a memorandum with the United Kingdom, securing 1.25 billion pounds ($1.61 billion) to build new military vessels for the Ukrainian Navy, the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy reported Thursday.

The memorandum was signed during Zelenskiys state visit to the UK on October 7-8.

A source in the Ukrainian government said the funds would be in the form of a 10-year loan and allow the UK to provide 8 Barzan-class fast attack crafts to Ukraine.

The first two ships would be constructed in the UK with a technology and skills transfer to allow the remaining 6 vessels to be completed in Ukraine. The UK is apparently ready to finance other similar projects for the Ukrainian Navy.

The Barzan-class is a fast attack craft designed by British shipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft for the Qatar Emiri Navy.

A fast attack craft (FAC) is a small, fast, agile and offensive warship armed with anti-ship missiles, guns, or torpedoes. A FAC is usually operated in close proximity to land as they lack both the seakeeping and all-round defensive capabilities to survive in blue water, according to the Navy Recognition.

In 2012, a contract was awarded to Thales to upgrade the Barzan Class. This included the modernization of the radars, combat system, counter-measures, and communication systems.

The armament of the Barzan-class includes two four-cell launchers able to launch MM40 Exocet surface-to-surface sea-skimming missiles manufactured by MBDA. The missile has a range from 4 to 70 km and is fitted with a warhead of 165 kg. The ship is also armed with surface-to-air missiles Mistral which have a range of 4 km. The front deck is fitted with an Oto Melara 76mm / 62 Super Rapid naval gun which has a range of 16 km.

Although based on the Barzan platform, any new vessels would need modern weapons, sensors and combat systems the original design is almost 30 years old.

The main value of warship building lies in the equipment fit and integration, typically 70% of the contract. The Neptune anti-ship cruise missile in development by Ukraine would likely comprise as the main armament. (rt/nr/ez)

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