PARIS ― The United Arab Emirates has selected the Gowind corvette from Naval Group in a planned order for two warships and an option for two more, in a bid to boost the Gulf state’s naval capability, the UAE and France announced.

The Naval Group now launches contract negotiations for the vessels, which will seek to meet UAE requirements, the company said in a statement.

“As part of its development strategy for the naval forces of the UAE, the acquisition of two multi-mission Gowind Combat-type corvettes was confirmed by the UAE,” the two nations said Nov. 9 on a visit to UAE by French president Emmanuel Macron.

“The ships will be built by the French high-tech company, Naval Group in partnership with Abu Dhabi Ship Building Company (ADSB),” said the joint statement, adding there is an option for two more vessels.

The planned procurement includes the Thales Tacticos combat management system, which was picked over the Naval Group Setis, a defense executive said.

The Raytheon Evolved Seasparrow Missile and MBDA Exocet will likely arm the Gowind ships as those weapons are fitted on the UAE Navy’s six-strong fleet of Baynunah corvettes, the Quwa website reported. A common inventory, logistics and training would be the advantages of such a selection. French shipyard CMN designed the Baynunah, which also ships the Raytheon Rolling Airframe Missile, a 76-mm gun and two 27 mm guns.

“We are proud the United Arab Emirates have selected the design of the Naval Group’s Gowind corvettes,” Naval Group chairman Hervé Guillou said in a statement. “With our UAE partner ADSB, we will now pursue discussions with the Armed Forces to allow the finalization of the acquisition contract.”

Naval Group competed with CMN, Dutch firm Damen and Italian shipyard Fincantieri, La Tribune reported.

Naval Group has sold four Gowind vessels in a €1 billion (U.S. $1.17 billion) deal to Egypt, with options for two more, and six Gowind to Malaysia.

Macron went to the UAE for the Nov. 8 official opening of the Abu Dhubai Louvre museum, a prestige project which took 10 years to build and which permanently houses 600 artworks and 300 on loan from France.

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