The Royal Saudi Naval Forces has launched the newest addition to its fleet at a ceremony in San Fernando, Spain, with several top officials from both countries in attendance, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday.
The HMS Al-Diriyah Avanti 2200 Corvette is the second ship, after the HMS Jubail, to be launched in four months. The Kingdom’s joint Sarawat manufacturing project will produce a further three vessels to add to the fleet.
During the commissioning ceremony, RSNF Commander Lt. Gen. Fahd Al-Ghufaili hoisted the Saudi flag on the HMS Al-Diriyah, marking its official entry into the navy’s service.
He said the Sarawat project would ensure the navy was combat-ready, and able to strengthen the country’s maritime security, and protect its vital strategic interests in the region.
Al-Ghufaili said the project was an important part of the Kingdom’s plan to develop the country’s local military industry with the latest technology. He praised the government for supporting these initiatives.
Walid Abukhaled, the CEO of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries, said the launch of the HMS Al-Diriyah was a further boost for the country’s national defense system.
He said the five RSNF ships that form part of the Sarawat project will be equipped with the first-ever Saudi naval combat management system called HAZEM. This was indicative of the progress made in developing such advanced systems locally, and nurturing local talent to achieve this feat.
Abukhaled said the Kingdom’s agreement with the Spanish company Navantia would ensure the transfer of much-needed technology to boost the country’s defense manufacturing sector.
The Sarawat project is a joint venture between SAMI and Navantia to build five Avanti 2200 Corvettes for the RSNF. It forms part of the Kingdom’s vision to localize 50 percent of the military industry by 2030.
The ships feature the latest combat systems to deal with air, surface and underwater threats. The project includes training for crew, and long-term technical and logistics support.