Navantia launched Saturday the fifth corvette being built for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF), named ‘Unayzah’ as a tribute to this city located north of capital of Saudi Arabia.
The event was attended by the Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Vice-Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily; the Spanish Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Méndez, the Secretary General for Industry and SMEs and the Chairman of Navantia, Ricardo Domínguez. It also included video interventions by the Admiral Chief of Staff of Spanish Navy, Admiral Antonio Martorell Lacave, and the CEO of SAMI (Saudi Arabia Military Industries), Walid Abukhaled.
The ceremony began with a reading from the Holy Quran, followed by videos about the city of Unayzah, about the Avante 2200 program and about the building of this corvette. Both the national anthems of Saudi Arabia and Spain have been played. The event has also included welcoming remarks from the Business Director of Corvettes and Maritime Action Vessel, José Antonio Rodríguez Poch.
Vice-Admiral Al-Ghofaily pointed out that the successful launching of all the corvettes in such a short and challenging delivery schedule is a remarkable accomplishment and a clear indication of Navantia’s commitment to fulfill every milestone of the project with high standards of quality.
His Excellency expressed his gratitude to the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their infinite support given to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces. He has also thanked Navantia’s Chairman and the Spanish Navy Chief of Staff for the valuable contribution of the Spanish Navy towards the success of the project.
Vice Admiral Al Ghofaily addressed RSNF crew who will take the command of the first ship after her commissioning in four months and he has highlighted the big responsibility assigned to them to set the standards for the new class of ships.
The Admiral Chief of Staff of Spanish Navy, Antonio Martorell Lacave, underlined his personal commitment, and that of the Spanish Navy, with the project and has expressed his appreciation “for the confidence that the Royal Saudi Navy has placed in the Spanish Navy to supervise the execution of this ground-breaking naval program”.
“So far, all the areas of this important and far-reaching naval program have been successful, including the necessary operational training, where the Spanish Navy has been particularly involved, the instruction of the future crews and the assessment of the modern equipment and complex systems,” he said.
Admiral Martorell Lacave has also thanked all the personnel involved in the program for their efforts to minimize the impact of the pandemic.
Xiana Méndez, Spanish Secretary of State for Commerce, has highlighted the importance of the program, which includes not only shipbuilding and comprehensive life cycle support, but also the training of crews and maintainers and transfer of technology.
“We are very proud of this program and the five corvettes we have built here because they are a shining example of Spain’s strong technologic capacities and the competitiveness of Spanish Defense industry,” stated the Secretary of State.
Navantia’s Chairman, Ricardo Dominguez, highlighted that this program “has marked a historic milestone for Navantia and for the development of the cooperation between the shipbuilding industries, defense organizations and Navies of both countries”.
“Spain and Saudi Arabia have strong long-lasting links and nowadays, when international cooperation is paramount, we have to enhance our existing partnerships as the best course to face the present and future”, has said Ricardo Dominguez.
“We are confident that being a leader in the sector and recognized internationally for our quality and technology, Navantia will be the most reliable partner for future upcoming projects,” he stressed.
He also has expressed Navantia gratefulness for the continued support of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the Ministry of Defense, and to the Spanish Ministry of Defense and the Spanish Navy.
Ricardo Dominguez also acknowledged Navantia’s and local industry workers commitment, which has made possible the launching of the corvette in time despite the challenges faced, and has showed gratitude both to SAMI and to the program teams in Spain and in Saudi Arabia for their hard work, expertise and teamwork spirit in this project.
Eng. Walid Abukhaled, CEO of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), expressed his pride in the successes achieved by the company through its strategic partnerships with RSNF and Navantia. These milestones have culminated in His Majesty’s Ship ‘Unayzah’, the last of five Avante 2200 corvettes, as part of the Al-Sarawat project.
“We are proud of the countless achievements that this program has contributed to, such as the establishment of SAMINavantia, the launch of HAZEM - the first 100% Saudi naval Combat Management System that was developed through the transfer of technology from Navantia, and the launch of the on-the-job training program, which saw the participation of 21 Saudi male and female engineers,” he said.
“The successful completion of the project represents a quantum leap in SAMI’s endeavors to enhance Saudi Arabia’s capabilities in maritime technology systems and strengthen the defense ecosystem of the country. This underscores our commitment to supporting the Kingdom’s efforts to localize more than 50% of its military spending in line with Saudi Vision 2030. On this special occasion, we extend our gratitude to our wise leadership, which spares no effort in supporting this growing sector. We also thank the RSNF command for their continuous assistance and firm trust in SAMI,” Eng. Walid Abukhaled added.
In the event, the Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Vice-Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, has cut the ribbon and the corvette, after receiving the impact of the bottle with water from the Holy City of Mecca, has begun to slide down until she has touched water for the first time. The construction will continue until the delivery in Spain to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces in the month of August 2023. The works will be completed in Arabia and it will be delivered there in February 2024.
During his visit to San Fernando, Commander Al-Ghofaily has visited the Navantia Training Centre (NTC), where the crew and the maintainers of the corvettes are receiving training, and the 18th century set of buildings rehabilitated by Navantia that currently host the Saudi crews. The Saudi delegation also visited the Land Based Training Site (LBTS) and simulators in Navantia Sistemas.
THE AVANTE 2200 PROGRAM
Corvette UNAYZAH is the fifth corvettes being built by Navantia in the Avante 2200 program. It has a length of 104 meters, a beam of 14 and will be able to transport a total of 102 people including crew and passengers.
The design of the corvettes is of the latest generation, maximizing the participation of Navantia by incorporating its own products, such as the CATIZ Combat System, the HERMESYS Integrated Communications System, the DORNA Firing Direction, the Integrated Platform Control System and the MINERVA Integrated Bridge, together with other equipment developed by Navantia under license, such as the MTU Engines or the RENK Reduction Gearboxes.
This program, whose last vessel must be delivered in 2024, includes, in addition to construction, Life Cycle Support for five years, from the delivery of the first vessel, with an option for another five years.
On the other hand, the contract also includes the supply of several services such as Integrated Logistic Support, Operational and Maintenance Training, Supply of Training and Education Centers for the Combat System and Platform Control System of the ships, the Life Cycle Support previously mentioned, and the systems for the maintenance of the ships in the Jeddah Naval Base.
The Spanish shipbuilder NAVANTIA is a world reference in the design, building and integration of highly technological state-of-the-art war ships for the Spanish Navy, which makes it a strategic company, and for the international market.
NAVANTIA’s activities include the design and manufacture of Integrated Platform Management Systems, Fire Control Systems, Command and Control systems, Propulsion Plants and through life support for all its products. NAVANTIA has also taken steps towards diversification and has become a relevant actor in the area of offshore wind power. Navantia belongs to the Spanish state holding SEPI, which includes 15 companies with more than 78.000 employees.