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Navantia signs MOU to deliver more Saudi naval vessels

Al-Jubail , the first of five corvettes Navantia is building for the RSNF, arrives at the King Faisal Naval Base in Jeddah on 25 August. (SAMI)

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering the design and construction of additional combat ships for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) on 30 November.

Both organisations released statements describing the new vessels as multimission combat ships. While GAMI did not give a number, the Spanish version of Navantia's release said the MOU would result in a contract being awarded in 2023 to build five ships.

Navantia is building five Al-Jubail-class corvettes for the RSNF based on its Avante 2200 design, the third of which is scheduled to be handed over on 4 December.

GAMI said Navantia had agreed to localise up to 100% of shipbuilding, maintenance, and combat systems integration in line with Saudi Arabia's policy of localising 50% of its defence spending by 2030.

Navantia confirmed the agreement covers localisation and technology transfer, saying the ships will be built jointly by its San Fernando shipyard and a Saudi shipyard it did not identify, while their combat management system will be developed and supplied by its joint venture with Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI). SAMINavantia has developed a version of the Spanish company's Catiz combat management system.

Neither GAMI nor Navantia provided any details of the five new ships, but Spain's ABC newspaper cited a source familiar with the agreement as saying they will be the same as the five corvettes ordered earlier.

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