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Navantia launched the second (of five) corvette it is building for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) on 14 November. The vessel is named AL-DIRIYAH, in homage to the city where the Saudi royal family has its origins.

The virtual ceremony was attended by the Commander of the RSNF, Vice Adm Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily; Navantia President, Belén Gualda González; the CEO of Saudi Arabian Military Industries Company (SAMI), Walid Abukhaled; and by Spanish Navy Chief of Staff, Adm Gen Teodoro López Calderón. In addition, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya has been especially involved in the event with a final intervention in which she highlighted the commitment of the Spanish Government to this programme and the desire for further collaboration between both countries.

Adm Al-Ghofaily thanked Navantia and the Spanish Navy, in particular for the training of personnel in Spain to provide a qualified crew capable of operating and maintaining the ships. Adm Calderón highlighted his service’s commitment to the programme, which involves high-quality training beyond the construction phase. Mr Abukhaled expressed his appreciation for the Saudi government’s support in making it possible for the corvettes to be equipped with the first Saudi combat management system (CMS).

The corvette, whose state-of-the-art design provides it with similar capabilities to a light frigate, has a length of 104m, a beam of 14m and a capacity for 102 personnel, including passengers. Maximum speed is 27kts and she will carry provisions for up to 21 days. The vessel features the HAZEM CMS, a derivative of the Navantia CATIZ system and the first Saudi combat system to be developed by the SAMI-Navantia joint venture. Other capabilities include a DORNA gun fire control system, NAVCOMS/HERMESYS integrated external and internal communications system, MINERVA integrated navigation and bridge system, and COMPLEX-SIMPLEX integrated platform management system, 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 engines and diesel generators, and RENK gearboxes.

The contract includes supply of services such as: integrated logistic support; operational and maintenance training; combat systems and platform control system training and education centres; maintenance systems at Jeddah Naval Base; and life cycle support for five years following delivery of the first vessel, with an option for a further five years.

The programme further demonstrates Navantia’s commitment to the principles of localisation and sovereign capability, rooted in Vision 2030. The last two corvettes will be completed and delivered in Saudi Arabia, where Navantia has a permanent presence through its subsidiary Navantia KSA. The SAMI-Navantia joint venture seeks to install the HAZEM combat system across the Saudi fleet, with potential also in the export market.

The launch of RSNF’s newest corvette, AL-DIRIYAH, on 14 November. (Photo: Navantia)

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