SIGMA Class frigates are built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding for the Royal Moroccan Navy. The frigates are also referred to as Frégates Multi-Missions Marocaines (FMMM).
The frigates boast superior sea keeping capabilities for conducting operations in Moroccan territorial waters. They are primarily deployed to perform maritime patrols and surveillance in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Morocco. They can also be used for maritime search and rescue, fishery and natural resources protection, as well as law enforcement duties.
In February 2008, the Royal Moroccan Navy placed an order for the design, build and delivery of three SIGMA class frigates.
In April 2008, Thales Nederland was contracted to supply command and control system, sensors and communication systems for three SIGMA frigates.
The keel for first frigate in class, Tarik ben Ziyad (F-613), was laid down in April 2008. It was launched in September 2011 and officially commissioned in December 2011. The second frigate, Sultan Moulay Ismail (F-614), was laid in March 2009.
The ship completed her sea acceptance trials in December 2011 and was transferred to the Royal Moroccan Navy in March 2012. The last ship in the class, Allal Ben Abdellah, was laid down in September 2009. It was commissioned with the Royal Moroccan Navy in September 2012.
Ship integrated geometrical modularity approach (SIGMA) concept
SIGMA Class frigates of the Royal Moroccan Navy were designed based on the ship integrated geometrical modularity approach (SIGMA) concept. These frigates are improved versions of the SIGMA-corvettes of the Indonesian Navy.
The SIGMA concept provides the user with high flexibility at reduced costs by allowing modularity in design. The TACTICOS combat management system (CMS) from Thales serves as a command and control, as well as combat data system, of the ship.
SIGMA-Class frigates have an overall length of 97.9m, beam of 13.02m and a draft of 3.75m. The first frigate is longer than its sister ships as it features VIP crew and command facilities.
The displacement of the first frigate is 2,335t. The second and third ships have a displacement of 2,075t. The ship can complement a standard crew of 91.
SSM and SAM missiles and gun systems aboard the Moroccan frigates
The SIGMA-Class frigate is armed with Exocet surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) and VL MICA short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). The VL MICA missiles can intercept multiple airborne targets located within one kilometre to a 20km range.
The main gun fitted forward is an Oto Melara 76mm super rapid gun. The gun can fire at a rate of 120 rounds a minute. The frigate is also mounted with two 20mm guns.
Deck-mounted B515 trainable triple-barrel torpedo launchers
The frigate is fitted with two standard deck-mounted B515 trainable triple-barrel launchers. The B515 is an upgraded version of the former ILAS-3 torpedo launcher.
The 324mm tubes incorporate temperature controlled electrical heating. The torpedo is fired through compressed air-pulse, which is released remotely by the shipborne torpedo system (STS).
Sensors / radars on the Frégates Multi-Missions Marocaines (FMMM)
The LIROD Mk2 FC radar serves as a fire control tracking system for the main gun. Smart-S Mk2 3D radar, operating in S-band, provides surveillance and target designation. Sigma-Class frigates are also equipped with Kingklip hull-mounted sonar.
Helicopter handling capabilities of the SIGMA Class vessels
The frigate has a helicopter deck and hangar to support operations of a single helicopter with a maximum weight of five tons. It is also provided with lashing points and refuelling system. The helideck allows operations at day and night.
Countermeasures provided by the Vigile 100 ESM and Scorpion ECM systems
The electronic countermeasures are provided by the Vigile 100 ESM system and Scorpion ECM system. The vessel is also fitted with two Terma SKWS (soft kill weapon system) decoy launchers.
The Terma SKWS can fire SeaGnat 214 seduction chaff, SeaGnat 216/PW216 distraction / confusion chaff, infrared rounds, dual mode decoys and torpedo decoys, against attacking anti-ship missiles.
SEMT Pielstick diesel engines of Morocco’s Naval frigates
Sigma-Class frigates are powered by two SEMT Pielstick diesel engines driving two controllable pitch propellers. Each engine delivers a maximum power output of 8,910kW. The frigate is also equipped with active roll stabilisation system. The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of 27.5kt and a range of 4,000nm at 18kt speed.
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