Kicking off the $2.2 billion contract signed in 2018 for five AVANTE 2200 corvettes for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Navantia cut steel on the first vessel at its San Fernando shipyard on 15 January.

The delivery schedule is ambitious: the first vessel is due to be delivered in October 2021 and the balance on a four-month drumbeat, indicating completion of the five-vessel class by February 2023.

The deal was threatened shortly after conclusion late last year when political uncertainties arising from the Jamal Khashoggi murder called into question the Spanish government’s commitment to delivering precision-guided weapons for the Royal Saudi Air Force. Speculation that the kingdom might retaliate by cancelling the AVANTE 2200 contract quickly faded, however.

The contract includes a five year logistics support package which encompasses training and is extendable for an optional five further years. Open sources indicate the contract may support as many as 6,000 jobs in Spain.

A Navantia impression of the AVANTE 2200. (Image Navantia via Twitter)

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