United Arab Emirate conglomerate EDGE Group and Italy’s Fincantieri announced on May 20, 2024 they would team up with a new joint venture and the new company’s first project would be Offshore Patrol Vessels for the UAE. (EDGE handout)

BEIRUT — Emirati defense giant EDGE Group and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri today finalized an agreement to launch a joint venture and announced the new entity’s first contract: one worth approximately $434 million to provide 10 Offshore Patrol Vessels for the United Arab Emirates.

The joint venture, dubbed Maestral, was initially agreed in February. EDGE will hold 51 percent and “will be awarded prime rights to non-NATO orders, and a number of strategic orders placed by selected NATO member countries, with a commercial pipeline of orders valued at approximately 30 billion euro,” according to a statement issued by the firm today.

But it’ll start with the ten P51MR Class 51m OPVs, which are based on Fincantieri’s Saettia-class vessels.

“In just three months since first announcing the creation of this unique venture with Fincantieri, we are now announcing a significant national order for these sophisticated OPVs, to be built both here at our shipyards in Abu Dhabi, and in Italy,” EDGE Group chairman Faisal Al Bannai said in a statement. He added that this step underscores the firm’s international export growth.

As Breaking Defense previously reported when the initial agreement was announced, in the international partnership EDGE will contribute to the new alliance with “subsystems, G2G [government to government], commercial pipeline and financing for large deals,” according to an EDGE spokesperson at the time. Meanwhile, Fincantieri will provide management and guidance, according to the firm’s statement.

“Today’s signing represents concrete evidence of how this Joint Venture is an industrial platform of great value, which will allow us not only to seize the opportunities arising in a strategic market such as the UAE, but also to further develop our commercial capabilities, thus creating new and important opportunities for growth and expansion in the international defence sector in connection with Abu Dhabi export platform,” Fincantieri CEO and Managing Director Pierroberto Folgiero said in a statement.

EDGE’s conglomeration currently includes one shipyard, Abu Dhabi Ship Building, which in 2023 inked a $1.1 billion deal to build corvettes for Angola in 2023.