Navantia has delivered this Thursday to the Royal Saudi Navy the first of the five corvettes built in its shipyards in the Bay of Cádiz, in a ceremony held at the facilities of the La Carraca Naval Base, in San Fernando.
The delivery ceremony for construction 546, named AL-JUBAIL, was attended by the commander of the Saudi Navy, Vice Admiral Fahad Bin Abdullah Al-Ghofaily; the Admiral Chief of Staff of the Navy (AJEMA), Antonio Martorell Lacave; the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Méndez; the Secretary General of Industry and SMEs, Raül Blanco and the CEO of SAMI, Walid Abukhaled; in addition to the president of Navantia, Ricardo Domínguez; the Government delegate in Andalusia, Pedro Fernández Peñalver and the Government sub-delegate in Cádiz, José Antonio Pacheco.
The AL-JUBAIL corvette has been delivered to the Saudi Navy three years after cutting its first plate (January 2019) and after having successfully passed the sea trials carried out in the waters of the Bay of Cádiz in recent months. In them, the proper functioning of both the platform and the different systems has been verified, with the aim of demonstrating compliance with the requirements specified in the ship’s contract.
The act has been carried out in accordance with military protocol. The Joint Inspection Commission (formed by members of the Royal Saudi Navy and Navantia) has boarded the corvette to carry out the mandatory review. At the end, the ship’s flag was raised, after which the Saudi Navy transferred command of the corvette to the commander of AL-JUBAIL. The president of Navantia has given Vice Admiral Al-Ghofaily the ship’s bell as an institutional gift.
At the ceremony, the Secretary of State for Commerce pointed out that “the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism supports the Spanish naval industry through various tools such as the promotional activities carried out by ICEX, the Spanish trade promotion agency; and the financial instruments” that it manages.
“In addition, as announced by the President of the Government on Monday, Spain will meet its objective of allocating 2% of GDP to defense, thus contributing to European and Atlantic security, while strengthening the security of our country”, added Xiana Méndez.
The president of Navantia, Ricardo Domínguez, has declared his pride for “the great work carried out by the shipyard, the cooperation received from all the contractors and suppliers and the collaboration of the officers dedicated to the program both in San Fernando and in Saudi Arabia”. In addition, he has transferred his recognition to the staff of Navantia and the collaborating industry for their “tenacity and effort”, which has allowed them to fulfill the assignment “with the established deadlines despite the many challenges”.
“I have no doubt that this ship is going to be an international benchmark in its class and a clear example of a cutting-edge product,” he said, in addition to emphasizing his gratitude to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism for its support of the program.
Vice Admiral Al-Ghofaily, for his part, stressed that this ambitious program underlines the solid and lasting strategic relations between the two countries and praised Navantia’s commitment to deliver a state-of-the-art corvette on schedule. The AL-JUBAIL frigate, he has pointed out, is the most technologically advanced surface combatant to join the Royal Saudi Navy.
In his speech, the Secretary General for Industry and SMEs conveyed the importance of strengthening the Spanish naval and defense industry in an uncertain global environment, and of working in solid alliances with allied countries, as shown today by the delivery of the corvette.
The CEO of SAMI has assured that “this is a proud moment for the Saudi defense industry and for SAMI, and demonstrates our success in collaborating with the main global suppliers to serve the Saudi Arabian armed forces. We are confident that the HMS AL-JUBAIL will be a key addition to the Kingdom’s defense capability.”
“On behalf of SAMI, I express our sincere thanks to the wise leaders of the Kingdom for constantly guiding and supporting us. We also give special thanks to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces for their trust in us. SAMINavantia continues to support our efforts to build a sustainable defense sector in the Kingdom, including developing the first Saudi naval combat system, HAZEM, facilitating defense localization through technology transfer, and nurturing national talent to through on-the-job training.