The Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) received the NB 547 AL-DIRIYAH, the second of five Avante-2200 class corvettes built by the Spanish shipbuilder Navantia for the RSNF as part of the ALSARAWAT Project, at a ceremony conducted at the Cádiz shipyard. Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Wael Alsarhan, Vice President of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), Ms. Mara Amparo Valcarce, Spanish Secretary of State for Defense, and other officials were present for the ceremony, which was presided over by Ricardo Dominguez, Chairman and CEO of Navantia.
Speaking at the event, Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily said, “Alsarawat and many other RSNF ambitious acquisition programs are a clear commitment of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces toward fulfilling the strategic goals of the Kingdom vision 2030 by creating a new era of sophisticated and efficient Naval capabilities to face the challenges of today and tomorrow while increasing the strength of National domestic military industry”.
Navantia Chairman and CEO Ricardo Dominguez expressed gratitude for “the contribution and collaboration of everyone involved in the great task carried out by the shipyard in delivering state-of-the-art products and services and thus showing the world the capabilities of the company.”
Saudi Arabia signed a €1.8 billion contract with Navantia in 2018 to build five Avante 2200 corvettes. This is the largest deal in the history of Spanish state shipyards with a foreign client. The price of a single ship is approximately 420 million euros. Integrated logistical support, operational and maintenance training, the provision of training and training facilities for the ships’ Combat System and Platform Control System, life cycle support, and the provision of various services for the maintenance of ships at Jeddah Naval Base are all included in the contract.
As part of the project, which began in November 2018, the steel-cutting ceremony for Al-Jubail, the first of the five Avante-2200 class corvettes being built for the Saudi Arabian navy, was held in January 2019. After extensive sea trials, the corvette, which was launched in July 2020, was handed over to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) in March 2022. The project’s third ship, “Hail,” was launched on March 28, 2021, followed by “Jazan,” on July 24, 2021, and “Unayzah,” on December 4, 2021. The other three ships, whose sea trials are in progress, will be delivered to Saudi Arabia by Navantia by 2024. Additionally, the joint venture formed by Navantia and Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) will develop the final phase of the project’s fourth and fifth corvettes in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Diriyah, which measures 104 meters long by 14 meters wide and can accommodate 102 crew members, can reach a top speed of 27 knots, and has a cruise range of 4,500 nautical miles thanks to four diesel engines that each have a 4,440-kW output, according to information provided by Navantia. The ship also has a crew capacity of 102 people. Al-Diriyah, with a weight of 2,500 tons, will be capable of serving at sea for 21 days without the need for additional support. The arsenal of the ship consists of a 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). On top of that, the ship’s flight deck and hangar is capable of accommodating a 10-ton class helicopter.
Additionally, the corvettes that will be delivered to the RSNF will be outfitted with HAZEM, the First Saudi Naval Combat Management System, HERMESYS Integrated Communications System, DORNA Fire Control System, MTU engines manufactured under license by Navantia, RENK transmission, and MINERVA Integrated Navigation and Bridge Systems.