Navantia has been contracted to repair and modernise two of the Algerian Navy’s warships and extend their service lives.
Navantia announced that the contract had entered into force yesterday. It is the largest contract in the history of Navantia’s Fene-Ferrol shipyard, where work will be carried out in conjunction with other Navantia units.
Arrival of the first ship is expected in September, along with a large delegation of the Algerian Navy, which will be stationed at Ferrol for the inspection, monitoring and testing of the ships, Navantia said.
This contract was won after intensive work, in the context of an open international tender, in competition with the major European shipyards.
News of the contract first emerged in January this year when it was reported that Navantia had been selected to modernise the two vessels as part of a 75 million euro deal, covering the integration of a new command and control system, new gun and targeting systems and the structural modernisation of the vessels for greater performance and safety. The work is expected to take two years to complete.
Since 1992, Navantia Fene-Ferrol has repaired Algerian liquid natural gas (LNG) and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) vessels, “which combined with its experience in the maintenance of vessels of the Spanish navy, proved to be the best introduction to win this contest,” the company said.
Algeria is in the process of expanding its navy in recent years as it faces problems such as smuggling, illegal migration and indigenous terrorism. These threats mainly affect Algeria's harbours and maritime communication routes and ships passing through the Straits of Gibraltar. Consequently, the Algerian Navy maintains a well-trained and well-equipped fleet to provide security to more than 1 000 km of coastline.
On March 26 this year, Algeria’s ministry of defence ordered two Meko A200 frigates from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). The contract, No. 674/889, was signed after a year of negotiations. In 2008 Forecast International reported that Algeria was seeking to acquire four new frigates.
TKMS will supply two Meko 200 frigates and six AgustaWestland Super Lynx helicopters under the contract, which, according to Bild, is worth more than €400 million.
In May it emerged that Algeria had signed a contract with China Shipbuilding Trading Company for three light frigates. They will be built either at Guangzhou or the Shanghai Huangpu Shipyard. The vessels will displace around 2 800 tons fully loaded, and will be powered by MTU diesel engines.
In the middle of last year it was announced that Algeria had signed a deal with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport for two new Tiger class corvettes. The Tiger corvette (Project 20382) is an export model of the Project 20380 Steregushchy class, which is the Russian Navy’s newest corvette class.
The vessel can be equipped with a variety of weaponry, including 100 or 76.2 mm guns, 14.5 mm machine guns, 533 mm torpedoes and a variety of surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles (e.g. P-800 Oniks, Uran-E or Yakhont). In addition, the vessels have capacity for a helicopter.
According to the IISS’s The Military Balance 2012, Algeria’s surface fleet comprises of three 1970s-era Koni class antisubmarine frigates, six corvettes, 22 patrol and coastal combat vessels, three amphibious vessels and three logistics and support ships.
In June 2006 Rosoboronexport signed a contract with the Algerian Navy for the construction of two Project 636 Improved Kilo class submarines under a roughly US$400 million contract.
Construction of the first submarine started in 2006 and the second began in 2007. They were handed over to the Algerian Navy in March and September 2010 where they joined two Project 877EKM Kilo diesel electric submarines, which Algeria received in 1987-1988.
Russia is presently upgrading a Nanuchka II class corvette and a Koni II class frigate for the Algerian Navy and will hand them over in July. Algeria and the Severnaya Verf shipyard signed a contract in 2007 for the overhaul of three warships of each class. Russia delivered the first pair, consisting of a Project 1234E Nanuchka II class corvette (Rais Hamidou) and a Project 1159T Koni II class frigate (Mourad Rais), to Algeria in February 2011.