Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia on Wednesday launched the first of five Avante 2200 corvettes it’s building for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) for delivery through 2024.
The five frigates were ordered in July 2018 for a cost of €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion), and first steel was cut for the series’ first vessel in January 2019.
Launched at the builder’s San Fernando shipyard, the new vessel Al-Jubail has a length of 104 meters, a beam of 14 meters and will be able to accommodate 102 people (crew and additional personnel). It will reach a maximum speed of 27 knots, and it has the capacity to carry 21 days’ supplies on board.
The launch comes despite a slowdown at the shipyard caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Navantia said, adding it will aim to make up time for the series’ future vessels to meet key milestone targets including the launch of the second corvette Aldiriyah planned for November 2020.
The corvettes are the latest generation of Navantia-designed combatants, incorporating Navantia products, such as the CATIZ Combat System, DORNA Gun Fire Control System, NAVCOMS/HERMESYS Integrated External and Internal Communications System, MINERVA Integrated Navigation and Bridge System, or COMPLEX-SIMPLEX Integrated Platform Management Platform together with equipment manufactured by Navantia under license such as the Leonardo SUPER RAPID 76mm main gun, Rheinmetall Air Defence MILLENNIUM 35mm close-in weapon system, MTU propulsion engines and diesel generators and RENK gearboxes.
In addition to construction of the five vessels, the corvette program includes lifecycle support for five years from the delivery of the first ship, with the option for five additional years. The builder will supply services such as integrated logistical support, operational and maintenance training, supply of training and training centers for the combat system and platform control system for ships and the systems for vessel maintenance in the RNSF Jeddah Naval Base.
Safety protocols for the launching ceremony required all attendees to have their temperature taken, wear a face mask and maintain the required safety distance.