Navantia has launched the second of the five corvettes built for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF), named AL-DIRIYAH, in homage to the city where the Saudi royal family has its origins, and which today is linked with San Fernando. The event, which has included telematic interventions, has been presided over by the Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Vice-Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, the Chairwoman of Navantia, Belén Gualda, the CEO of SAMI, Walid Abukhaled, and the Admiral Chief of Staff of Spanish Army, Teodoro López Calderón. In addition, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, has been involved in the event with a final intervention, in which she has highlighted the commitment of the Spanish Government to the naval programme and the desire for future collaboration between both countries.

The ceremony began with a welcome from the director of the shipyard, Javier Herrador, followed by a reading from the Holy Koran by the Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, continuing with a video about the city AL-DIRIYAH (which gives its name to the ship), followed by a video from Navantia about the preparations for the launching of the ship. After that, the hymns of Saudi Arabia and Spain and speeches followed.

The Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces highlighted the work of Navantia and the Spanish Navy, ‘giving the highest to achieve the training of the first crew in Spain, qualified personnel capable of operating and maintaining these ships’. In this sense, the Admiral Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army also highlighted the total commitment of the Spanish Navy in the pioneering programme, which involves high-quality training beyond the construction.

CEO of SAMI expressed his appreciation for the support of the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in making it possible for the corvette Al Diriyah and all other corvettes of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces to be equipped with the first Saudi Combat Management System.

The Chairwoman of Navantia had some words of thanks to the whole team working on the programme, both in Spain and in Saudi Arabia, showing commitment to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, and she has expressed the purpose of Navantia to collaborate with the Royal Saudi Naval Forces throughout other future programmes.

Next, Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily, proceeded to cut the ribbon from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the corvette AL-DIRIYAH began sliding down the steps until it touched water for the first time.

Corvette AL-DIRIYAH has a length of 104m and a beam of 14m, and it will be able to transport a total of 102 people, including crew and passengers. It will reach a maximum speed of 27k and, among other things, it has the capacity to carry provisions onboard for 21 days.

The design of the corvettes is of the latest generation, maximising 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 a licence such as the MTU Engines or the RENK Reduction Gearboxes.

The contract, which came into force in November 2018, strengthens the immediate future of Navantia and benefits all the shipyards of the company and its auxiliary industry, especially the whole Bay of Cadiz.

Specifically, it will mean a global workload of approximately seven million hours, which, translated into employment, will reach the figure of 6,000 annually during the next five years. Of these, more than 1,100 will be Navantia employees, more than 1,800, employees from Auxiliary Industry of Navantia, and more than 3,000, indirect employees of other suppliers. There will be more than 100 auxiliary companies that will collaborate in the project.

The programme, whose last vessel must be delivered in 2024, includes construction, life cycle support for five years from the delivery of the first vessel with an option for five additional 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 centres for the combat system, and platform control system of the ships, and the systems for the maintenance of the ships in the Jeddah Naval Base.