Sawari II Frigate Program for Saudi Arabia: Al Damman Launched, First Sea Trials for Makkah
(Source : Thales; issued Oct. 21, 2002)


PARIS---On 7 September, the frigate Al Damman was launched at DCN's Lorient shipyard. Two days later, the Makkah began its first sea trials. These events mark important milestones in the Sawari II programme signed by France and Saudi Arabia on 19 November 1994.

The programme calls for the delivery of three F3000S anti-air frigates based on the La Fayette class, plus associated logistic support and training. As programme prime contractor, Thales is working with DCN/Armaris for the platform architecture, shipbuilding and propulsion systems and with Armaris subsidiary SFCS for the combat systems.

Other participants include:

--EADS subsidiary MBDA Missile Systems and Eurosam for the missiles
--Navfco for training (700 crew members and cadet engineers)
--Sofinfra for in-country infrastructure, including a school and workshops in Jeddah, covering an area of over 20,000sq.m.

Al Riyadh, the first of the three frigates, was officially handed over on 26 July 2002 and is currently based in Toulon for eight months of at-sea crew training. Makkah, the second, began sea trials on 9 September 2002 and will sail to Toulon for official handover and a similar eight-month stay for at-sea training. Al Damman, the third vessel, launched on 7 September 2002, is scheduled to begin sea trials in September 2003. In June 2004, Al Damman will sail to Toulon for official handover and an eight-month stay for at-sea training.

The F3000S frigates are based on the highly successful La Fayette design. Basic characteristics include an overall length of 133 metres, a beam of 17 metres, and an average displacement of 4,500 tons. These vessels feature sophisticated weaponry and a highly-automated combat management system developed jointly by Thales and DCN.

The combat system includes the SAAM anti-missile self-defence system combining an Arabel fire-control radar and Aster 15 missiles.

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