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A commissioning ceremony for the fifth Avante 2200 corvette built by Navantia for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) was held in Jeddah on 7 March 2024.

The corvette, HMS Unayzah, is the last vessel to be delivered to the RSNF under the Al-Sarawat project. It was built at Navantia’s Bay of Cádiz shipyard before being transported on a specialised vessel to Jeddah, where it underwent final construction and systems integration work, with Navantia having transferred technology to local partner Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) under the SAMI Navantia Naval Industries joint venture.

The local work conducted under the Al-Sarawat project, as well as the successful accomplishment of extensive combat systems trials and live firings in Saudi Arabian waters, has contributed to the Saudi Ministry of Defence’s goal of localising more than 50% of total Saudi military expenditure by 2030 under the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy.

Avante 2200 corvettes are 104 m long, have a beam of 14.4 m, displace 2,200 tonnes at full load and can accommodate a total complement of 102 crew and passengers. Powered by four MTU 16V 1163 TB93 diesels in a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) configuration, the corvettes can reach a speed of 27 kt (50 km/h) and have a range of 3,500 n miles (6,482 km) at 12 kt.

The class’ main weapons include a Leonardo Super Rapid 76 mm gun, a 16-cell vertical launch system for surface-to-air missiles and two quad launchers for surface-to-surface missiles, while a flight deck aft can accommodate a 10-tonne helicopter.

The Saudi government awarded a EUR 1.8 billion contract to Navantia to build five Avante 2200 corvettes for the RSNF in July 2018.

The first corvette, Al-Jubail, was launched in July 2020 and was handed over to the RSNF at Navantia’s San Fernando shipyard in Cádiz in March 2022.

A commissioning ceremony for the fifth and final Avante 2200 corvette built by Navantia for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, HMS Unayzah, was held in Jeddah on 7 March 2024. (Photo: Navantia)