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A class in stealth - the world’s best navy corvettes

13 February 2014




Small and agile but still bigger than a standard coastal patrol boat, corvettes such as the Visby, Braunschweig and SIGMA, play a significant role in some of the world’s strongest naval forces.


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Naval-technology.com lists the world's best corvettes based on range of multi-mission capabilities, armaments and manoeuvrability.

Visby Class Corvette

The Visby-class advanced stealth corvettes were built by Kockums at the Karlskrona Shipyard, for the Royal Swedish Navy. The class includes five versatile vessels designed for anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine countermeasures and maritime patrol.

Each vessel is armed with a Bofors 57mm Mk 3 general purpose gun, eight Saab RBS15 surface-to-surface missiles, four Saab 40cm ASW torpedoes, ASW rockets and mine rails.

The combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion integrates four TF50A gas turbines for medium and high-speed operation, and two MTU diesel engines for low-speed manoeuvring. The CODOG engines drive two KaMeWa waterjet propellers offering a better hydro-acoustic signature and manoeuvrability while emitting lesser noise. The propulsion system ensures a maximum speed of over 35kt and a range of 2,500nmi at 15kt.

K130 Braunschweig Class

The K130 Braunschweig Class of the German Navy is a series of five modern corvettes built by the ARGE K130 consortium comprising Blohm + Voss, Nordseewerke and Fr. Lürssen Werft. The multi-mission corvettes are deployed for surface surveillance, anti-surface warfare and littoral missions.

The K130 class offers reduced radar and infrared (IR) signatures, and is fitted with automated weapons and defence systems, sensors and communication systems. Its deck can accommodate one medium-sized helicopter.



Helicopters with anti-submarine warfare (ASW) systems are widely deployed by naval forces as a means to counter submarines at long ranges.


The armament fit is composed of RBS 15MK3 surface-to-surface missiles, Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) surface-to-air missiles, Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid naval gun, and two MLG 27mm auto cannons. The corvette is powered by two MTU 20V 1163 TB 93 diesel engines driving two controllable-pitch propellers providing a maximum speed of more than 26kt.

SIGMA Class Corvette

The SIGMA class corvettes are built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding according to the Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach (SIGMA) concept. Four SIGMA-class vessels were delivered to the Indonesian Navy during 2007-2009.

The SIGMA class features a modular design giving the operator optimum flexibility at reduced costs. The corvettes feature advanced combat and communication suite, a large helicopter deck and accommodation facilities for 80 personnel. The primary missions of the SIGMA-class include Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) patrol, deterrence, Search and Rescue (SAR), and anti-submarine warfare.

The corvettes can be armed with Exocet anti-ship missiles, TETRAL air-to-air missiles, a 76mm super rapid gun, two 20mmm guns, and two B515 triple torpedo launchers. Two diesel engines driving two shafts with controllable pitch propellers provide the vessels a maximum speed of 28kt and range of 3,000nmi at 18kt.

Milgem Class

The Milgem Class corvettes of the Turkish Navy are fitted with indigenously-developed weapons and C4SI systems to conduct maritime patrol, anti-surface warfare, ASW and anti-air warfare missions in littoral waters.

The first two ships in class, TCG Heybeliada (F-511) and TCG Büyükada (F-512), were built by Istanbul Naval Shipyard, and commissioned into the Turkish Navy by 2013. The corvettes incorporate stealth technology and signature-reduction features. Each vessel is fitted with a 76mm gun, two Stabilised Machine Gun Platforms (STAMPs), eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, rolling airframe missile (RAM) for point defence and Mk.32 triple launchers.

The MILGEM class is equipped with MTU combined diesel and gas (CODAG)-type propulsion system. The propulsion power for sailing at cruising speeds is provided by the diesel engines, while two gas turbines provide the power required for higher speeds of up to 29kt.

Project 20380 Steregushchy Class Corvette

The Project 20380 Steregushchy is a class of very large multi-role corvettes built by Severnaya Verf shipyard and Amur Shipbuilding Plant for the Russian Navy. The ships can conduct coastal patrol, escort and ASW missions.

The Steregushchy-class incorporates stealthy design for reduced radar, acoustic, infra-red and magnetic signatures. It is armed with Kh-35 missiles, 3M-54 Klub missiles, two Kashtan close-in weapon systems, an Arsenal A-190 100mm naval gun, two AK-630M guns and two quadruple torpedo tubes.

"The propulsion system enables the vessel to attain a top speed of 27kt and a range of 4,000nmi at 14kt speed."

The combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system of the Steregushchy-class integrates four 16D49 diesel engines. The propulsion system enables the vessel to attain a top speed of 27kt and a range of 4,000nmi at 14kt speed.

The Tiger Class, an export variant of the Steregushchy-class, was also ordered by the Algerian Navy.

Project 21630 Buyan Class corvette

The Buyan Class is a series of corvettes built by Almaz shipyard for the Russian Navy. Buyan-M, a modified missile version of the Buyan Class, is also under construction at the shipyard. The vessels are used for EEZ patrol and can be deployed in shallow waters and river mouths to land troops in support of ground-based missions.

The Buyan Class incorporates stealth features to reduce the radar cross section. The open architecture of the vessel allows for the integration of modular systems according to the future requirements. The corvettes are armed with Igla or Igla-S anti-aircraft missiles, A-215 Grad-M naval multiple launch rocket system, a single A-190 100mm cannon and two AK-306 30mm close-in weapon systems.

The twin screw combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system integrates two Zvezda M520 radial diesel engines coupled with two pump-jet propulsors. The power-plant provides a top speed of 28kt and range of 1,500nmi (2,778km).

Baynunah Class Corvette

The Baynunah is a new class of multi-mission corvettes built by Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) for the United Arab Emirates Navy. The ships are designed to perform multiple missions including coastal patrol and surveillance, mine countermeasures, and anti-air and anti-surface warfare.

The advanced weapons and sensor technology used in the vessel make the Baynunah one of the best corvette classes in the world. The ship has a stealthy design to minimise radar cross-section and can be fitted with Exocet anti-ship missiles, Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSMs), Mk49 Mod3 21-cell RAM launcher, a 76mm main gun and two Rheinmetall MLG 27 guns.

The Baynunah-class features a stern helicopter deck and hangar for a medium-sized helicopter. The vessels are powered by four MTU diesel engines driving Kamewa waterjets. The propulsion system ensures a top speed of more than 30kt.

Khareef Class Corvettes

The Khareef Class corvettes are being built by BAE Systems Maritime - Naval Ships, for the Royal Navy of Oman. The corvettes can perform coastal patrols, maritime disaster relief, SAR and deterrence missions.

The innovative hull design with stealth features allows the Khareef class to perform undetected operations near enemy zones. The flexible platform design also enables integration of equipment and systems as well as armaments supported by a comprehensive weapons management system. The ship features a flight deck and hangar for small to medium sized aircraft of 12t-class.



French shipbuilder DCNS has released footage of its first FREMM frigate Aquitaine arriving in New York ahead of a visit to Canada, with the aim of turning a few armed forces heads.


The corvettes are armed with a 76mm Oto Melara Cannon, two 30mm MSI DS30M cannons, MM-40 Block III Exocet anti-ship missiles and MBDA VL Mica surface-to-air missiles to defend against both surface and air threats. Two MTU diesel engines provide the vessel with a maximum speed of 25kt and a range of 4,500 miles.

Type 056 Corvette (NATO codename: Jiangdao)

The Type 056 is a new stealth corvette-class under construction at Wuchan, Huangpu, Hudong-Zhongua and Liaonan shipyards, for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). It is the first Chinese modular warship capable of serving as an offshore patrol vessel or a multi-role frigate.

The Type 056 corvette features a stealthy hull design constituting sloped surface and trimmed superstructure clutter. The armament fit includes YJ-83 sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles, FL-3000N short-range missile system, a 76mm main gun, two remotely operated cannons and two triple torpedo tubes.

The helicopter deck at the stern can accommodate a Z-9 class helicopter. The Type 056 is powered two diesels driving two shafts. The propulsion system ensures an estimated top speed of more than 28kt.

Kamorta Class Corvette

The Kamorta class corvettes are the next-generation ASW vessels being built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), for the Indian Navy. Primarily designed for ASW missions, the corvettes can also conduct anti-surface and anti-air warfare missions. All four corvettes in the class are scheduled to be commissioned between 2014 and 2017.

The Kamorta class integrates a composite superstructure and stealth technology for reducing infrared and radar signatures, noise levels, and magnetic outputs. It is armed with 3M-54 Klub anti-ship cruise missiles, Barak surface-to-air missiles, a 76mm super rapid gun, two AK-630M close-in weapon systems, two RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers, and two triple torpedo tubes.

The stern helicopter deck of the Kamorta supports the operations of a Ka-28PL or Naval HAL Dhruv helicopter. The four Pielstick 12 PA6 STC engines, each rated at 3,888kW, provide a maximum speed of 25kt and range of 3,450nmi at 18kt speed.

Defence Technology

Visby class corvettes are the best stealth corvettes in the world.
A close bow view of the K130 Braunschweig Class corvette, Ludwigshafen am Rhein (F 264).
The Indonesian Navy operates four SIGMA-class multi-role corvettes.
Aerial view of a Milgem Class corvette, TCG Heybeliada (F-511).
Project 20380 Steregushchy is a series of very large multi-role corvettes operated by the Russian Navy.
The Buyan Class corvette employs stealth technology for reduction of radar cross section.
The Baynunah class multi-mission corvettes are in service with the United Arab Emirates Navy.
The Khareef Class corvette from BAE Systems incorporates innovative hull design with stealth features.
Type 056 stealth corvettes are the first modular warships built in China.