Spanish shipbuilder Navantia held a steel cutting ceremony at its San Fernando shipyard on January 15 to officially mark the start of construction of the first Royal Saudi Navy Avante 2200 corvette.
The ceremony was attended by company officials and representatives from the navies of Saudi Arabia and Spain.
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces delegation was led by Eastern Fleet Commander, Rear Adm. Fahad Ali Al-Furaidan.
Navantia will build a total of five Avante 2200 corvettes for Saudi Arabia under a 1,8 billion Euro contract signed in April 2018.
Defense cooperation agreements signed between the two countries 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.
Navantia has also 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 corvettes but the new company will also be involved in future naval programs, it was noted.
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 corvettes will feature Navantia’s Catiz combat systems, Hermesys integrated communications, Dorna fire control systems, Minerva integrated bridges and engines and reduction gearboxes.