Spanish shipbuilder, Navantia hosted the official keel-laying ceremony for the first of the five Avante 2200 corvettes ordered by the Royal Saudi Arabian Naval Forces (RSNF), at its San Fernando shipyard.
The ceremony was attended by Rear Admiral Faleh Abdulrahman Alfaleh, Subcomandante of the Western Fleet of the Saudi Navy; as well as Gonzalo Mateo, director of Operations and Business of Navantia. The director of the Bahía de Cádiz de Navantia Shipyard, Javier Herrador, has welcomed the attendees.
During the ceremony, a block weighing around 76 tons, was placed at the shipbuilding area where the corvette would be built.
Navantia began construction of the first corvette during a ceremony at the San Fernando shipyard, on Jan 15 this year. The ceremony consisted of cutting the first plate of the vessel, belonging to block 401 of the engine room, with dimensions of 12 x 2.4 meters, a thickness of 7 millimetres and a weight of 1,254 kilograms.
The contract for the construction of five Avante 2200 corvettes was signed between Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Navantia last year, for €1.8 billion. The deal represented the largest in the history of Spanish public shipyards with a foreign client.
The program started last year and the last vessel will be delivered in 2022. In addition, Navantia will be responsible for life cycle support for five years, from the delivery of the first vessel, with an option for an additional five years.
The contract also includes the supply of various services such as integrated logistic support, operational and maintenance training, supply of Training and Training Centers for the Combat System and Platform Control System for ships, Support for Life Cycle, and the systems for the maintenance of the ships in the Naval Base.
The new corvettes, based on Navantia’s Avante 2200 Combatant design, will be adapted to Royal Saudi Navy requirements offering advanced features, including behaviour at sea, high survival capacity and operating capacity at extreme temperatures in the area of the Gulf, all with an optimum life cycle cost.
The design of the corvettes is state-of-the-art, maximizing at the same time the participation of Navantia incorporating its own products such as the CATIZ combat system, the HERMESYS integrated communications system, the DORNA firing direction, the Integrated Platform Control System, (IPCS) the MINERVA integrated bridge and motors and gearboxes.
The corvettes have a displacement of over 2,500 tons, a hull length of 98.9 m and a maximum speed of 25 knots. The vessel has a crew complement of 92. They can accommodate a 10t class helicopter and can deploy two 5.5m Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIB).
Venezuelan Navy already operates four ocean patrol vessels (Spanish: Patrullero Oceánico de Vigilancia de la Zona Económica Exclusiva, POVZEE) based on Avante 2200 Combatant design known in Venezuelan service as Guaiquerí-class. In comparison with the Venezuelan vessels, the Saudi corvettes will be heavily armed and more multirole.