SAMI Navantia Naval Industries (SAMINavantia) has laid keel on the first Avante 2200 corvette for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF).

The official keel-laying ceremony for the corvette was held in Cadiz, Spain.

SAMINavantia is a joint venture (JV) between state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia. The companies formed the JV last year to design and construct five Avante 2200 corvettes for RSNF.

All five vessels are being built at Navantia’s San Fernando shipyard. The navy is expected to receive the corvettes by 2023.

SAMI CEO Dr Andreas Schwer said: “Today’s event marks a major milestone in our collaboration with Navantia as we endeavour to further strengthen the Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ outstanding maritime capabilities through the manufacture of these five state-of-the-art vessels.

“This project represents a proof of concept for His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s vision for the localisation of 50% of military equipment spending by 2030.

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“By working together, SAMI and Navantia will boost the local content through the creation of thousands of highly skilled jobs in Saudi Arabia, accelerate the transfer of technology, and contribute to the Kingdom’s ambitious goals of building the indigenous military and defence industries.”

The programme includes life cycle support for five years. It has an option to extend the support for an additional five years.

Last month, SAMINavantia reached a €900m contract with Navantia to provide Combat System Integration (CSI) and ‎installation.

The agreement also covers system engineering and architecture, software ‎development, testing and verification, hardware design, and prototyping, simulation and modelling.

The JV will also provide logistical support and training.

Over the course of the five year period, the project will generate 1,100 direct jobs and more than 3,000 indirect jobs.

The JV will deliver the last two vessels in the class within Saudi Arabia.

The Avante 2200 corvette is a multirole vessel that can support surveillance and maritime control, as well as search and rescue missions.