Spanish shipbuilder Navantia Shipyard announced on March 31 that the Al-Jubail corvette, the first of five corvettes built by the company in the Bay of Cádiz for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF), has been delivered to the RSNF during a ceremony. The delivery ceremony held at the company’s La Carraca Naval Base facilities was attended by RSNF Commander Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, Admiral Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy (AJEMA) Antonio Martorell Lacave, Navantia President Ricardo Domínguez and many high-ranking military officials from Saudi Arabia.
Vice Admiral Al-Ghofaily, Commander of the RSNF, spoke during the ceremony, emphasizing that this program highlights the two nations’ strong and long-standing strategic ties, and praising Navantia’s commitment to delivering a state-of-the-art corvette on schedule. According to Al-Ghofaily, the Al-Jubail corvette is the most technologically advanced surface warship to join the Saudi Royal Navy.
Navantia President Ricardo Dominguez, speaking after Vice Admiral Al-Ghofaily, said he was proud of “the great task carried out by the shipyard, the cooperation received from all the contractors and suppliers, and the collaboration of the officers devoted to the program both in San Fernando and in Saudi Arabia.” Dominguez thanked the Navantia personnel and cooperating companies for their “perseverance and effort” in getting the ship ready for delivery in the specified time despite many difficulties such as the Covid-19 pandemic experienced during the construction process of the ship.
The vessel was delivered as part of a €2.3 billion contract announced in 2018 between Saudi Arabia and Navantia. It was built by roughly 6,000 employees and covered a reported total of seven million working hours, including more than 100 firms in the Navantia supply chain. In January 2019, Al-Jubail, the first of five Avante-2200 class corvettes built for the Saudi Arabian navy as part of the project, which began in November 2018, had its sheet metal cutting ceremony. The corvette, which was launched in July 2020, completed all of the lengthy sea trials with flying colors.
The Al-Diriyah corvette, the company’s second of the Avante-2200 class corvettes manufactured for the RSNF, launched in November 2020, followed by the Hail corvette in March 2021, the Jazan corvette in July 2021, and the fifth “Unayzah” corvette in December 2021. The contract for the corvettes, which are expected to be delivered by 2024, includes a five-year lifecycle support period following delivery, as well as a five-year extension option. The contract includes integrated logistical support, operational and maintenance training, the provision of training and training centers for the ships’ Combat System and Platform Control System, life cycle support, and various ship maintenance services at the Jeddah Naval Base.
According to the information provided by Navantia, Al-Jubail, which is 104 meters long, 14 meters wide, and has a crew capacity of 102 personnel, can attain a top speed of 27 knots and has a cruise range of 4,500 nautical miles, powered by four diesel engines that each produce 4,440 kW. With a weight of 2,500 tons, Al-Jubail will be able to serve at sea for 21 days without requiring additional support. The weapon system includes one 76mm naval gun, one 30mm CIWS, four 12.5mm machine guns, 2×3 torpedo tubes, 2×4 anti-ship missiles and 32 ESSM surface-to-air missiles (8-cell Mk 41). A 10-ton class helicopter may be accommodated on the ship’s flight deck and hangar.
The corvettes will also be equipped with HAZEM, the First Saudi Naval Combat Management System, which was unveiled during the Saudi International Maritime Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2019. HAZEM is a Naval Combat Management System that incorporates an integrated communication system, a fire control system, and an integrated platform management system.