Saudi Arabia will reportedly order five Avante 2200 corvettes from Spain’s Navantia. The contract, which could be worth as much as $3.3 billion U.S. (IHS Jane’s), is expected to be signed in the coming days during King Philip VI’s official visit to Riyadh from November 12 (Spanish News Today).
Notes & Comments:
The corvettes appear to be for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF)’s Eastern Fleet. In 2015, Riyadh had been in talks with Lockheed Martin for the procurement of six surface combatants – including four 3,500-ton “frigate-like warships” (Defense News) – for the Eastern Fleet.
In October 2015, the U.S. State Department approved a proposed sale – valued $11.25 billion – to Saudi Arabia for four multi-mission warships based on Lockheed Martin’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). However, in early 2016, Riyadh reportedly balked at the offer, ostensibly on cost grounds.
In February 2016, Riyadh approved a purchase for five Avante 2200 corvettes from Navantia.
It is not known how the RSNF will configure and arm their new corvettes, but if these ships are being bought in lieu of the LCS-based Multi-Mission Surface Combatant (MMSC), these corvettes could be equipped for anti-ship warfare (AShW) and anti-air warfare (AAW) via the Harpoon Block-II and Evolved Sea Sparrow (ESSM), respectively.
As per Navantia’s marketing material, the Avante 2200 has a full load displacement of 2,500 tons. The design can carry an eight-cell vertical launch system (VLS) for AAW munitions, two quad-launchers for anti-ship missiles, and two triple anti-submarine warfare torpedo launchers. The Avante 2200 has a flight deck and hangar for one 10-ton utility helicopter (e.g. NH-90).