July 5, 2009: The first of six French built Baynunah class corvettes was recently launched. The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is buying these ships for $147 million each. The 217 foot (70 meter) long corvettes are armed with eight Exocet anti-ship missiles, 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles, one RAM launcher missile for defense against anti-ship missiles and a 76mm gun. Helicopters can land on the rear of the ship.
The design is stealthy (to make the ships more difficult to spot with radar) and have a shallow draft (nine feet), suitable for the shallow coastal waters of the Persian Gulf. Cruising speed is 27 kilometers an hour, while max speed is about 60 kilometers an hour. These 840 ton ships are equipped to stay at sea, with its 37 man crew, for up to two weeks. These ships can also be equipped to lay mines. The first of these corvettes will enter service next year.