Saudi Arabia, Spain finalize Avante 2200 corvette deal

Spain and Saudi Arabia have finalized a framework agreement which will see Spanish shipbuilder Navantia deliver five Avante 2200 corvettes for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF).

The deal, signed during Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s official visit to Spain, is worth around €2 billion (approx. $2.46b), according to media reports.

Defense cooperation agreements signed between the two sides include arrangements for the Spanish Army to train Saudi military personnel in addition to setting out a plan for the establishment of a naval construction center in Saudi Arabia.

In an announcement on Friday, April 13, Navantia announced it has formed a joint venture with Saudi state company SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries) for the supply and integration of combat systems for Saudi naval projects.

The joint venture’s first engagement will be on the five Avante 2200 corvettes but the new company will also be involved in future naval programs, it was noted.

Commenting on the contract, the president of Navantia said this contract had been negotiated since 2015. He added that construction would take five years and involve 6,000 direct and indirect workers.

Saudi Arabia’s purchase of Spanish corvettes has been long in the making. News of the acquisition emerged in 2016 when it was reported that Navantia was selected to build five corvettes based on the offshore patrol vessels that the shipbuilder delivered to Venezuela.

According to shipbuilder specifications, the Avante 2200 vessels measure 98.9 meters in length, displace 2,500 tons and have a crew capacity of 92. Further, the vessels can accommodate a 10t class helicopter and can deploy two 5.5m RHIBs.

The Royal Saudi Navy corvettes will be based on the design of offshore patrol vessels Navantia built for the Venezuelan Navy. Navantia photo of lead Venezuelan GC-21 Guaicamacuto