Saudi Arabia has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Spanish firm Navantia S.A. on Thursday to purchase five Avante 2200 corvettes, including Combat Management System, worth about €2 billion.
The signing took place between Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Navantia S.A. on Thursday. Orginally, the contract was supposed to sealed in 2016, but signing was postponed.
The Avante 2020 corvette selected by Saudi Arabia is derived from the offshore patrol vessels that Navantia built for Venezuela; they are 98 meters long and displace 2,450 tonnes.
In addition, both the firms also signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Thursday to create a joint venture (JV), that will manage and localize any naval combat systems activity including integration and installation.
The new joint venture (JV) will focus on program management and combat system integration and installation, system engineering, system architecture, hardware design, and software development, testing & verification, prototyping, simulation, and modelling
H.E. Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chairman of SAMI, explained that the agreement comes in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and following the announcement of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman to localize 50% of the total military spending by 2030. “As one of the ambitious outcomes of the Crown Prince’s vision, SAMI is currently exploring all collaboration and localization opportunities to build a strong autonomous military industries ecosystem”.
“Navantia is committed to partnering with Saudi Arabia and determined to expand its presence in the Saudi and regional market,” Al-Khateeb added.
Esteban García Vilasánchez, Chairman of Navantia, said: “We are delighted to be working with our friends in Saudi Arabia, and we are proud of the trust HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman places in Navantia, and our ability to contribute to achieving the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 through this joint venture. The historical relationship between the two kingdoms [Spain and Saudi Arabia] dates back more than six decades, and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership in support of the Kingdom’s national security and technology development needs.”
The MoA will further solidify the relationship between Navantia and Saudi Arabian Military Industry company (SAMI). The resulting JV will contribute in maintaining the readiness of the Saudi military fleet. In addition, the agreement will create approximately 1,000 jobs and training opportunities for Saudi youth, and augment the participation of Saudi nationals in the industry, contributing towards the objectives of the Kingdom's comprehensive Vision 2030 plan.