Work on the first of five Avante 2200 corvettes being built for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) has begun with an official keel-laying ceremony in the Spanish port of Cadiz.
The high-tech surveillance and maritime protection vessels are being built as part of a joint venture between Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, and are due to be delivered by 2023, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Senior officialsfrom Saudi Arabia and RSNF personnel headed by Rear Adm. Faleh AbdulrahmanAlfaleh, deputy commander of the Western Fleet, attended the keel-layingceremony. SAMI CEO Andreas Schwer, Navantia boss Susana de Sarria andSAMI-Navantia CEO Antonio Rodriguez-Barberan also took part.
The keel-laying is alandmark in the construction of the vessels, one of the key components in theagreement between SAMI and Navantia.
Schwer said:"Today's event marks a milestone in our collaboration with Navantia as weendeavor to further strengthen the Royal Saudi Naval Forces' outstandingmaritime capabilities through the manufacture of these five vessels.
"This projectrepresents proof of concept for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's vision forthe localization of 50 percent of military equipment spending by 2030."