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Algeria buying Chinese frigates

altAlgeria has signed a contract with China Shipbuilding Trading Company for three light frigates, after ordering two Meko A-200N frigates from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

The three light frigates 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.

The Algerian Navy has been undergoing expansion 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 1000 km of coastline.

On March 26 this year Algeria’s ministry of defence signed a contract with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) for two Meko A-200 frigates with an option for two more, after a year of negotiations.

TKMS will supply two Meko A-200 frigates and six AgustaWestland Super Lynx helicopters under the €2 175 520 000 contract. According to Russia’s Periscope magazine, the ships will be armed with RBS 15 Mk III anti-ship missiles, Umkhonto IR surface-to-air missiles, Oto Melara and Rheinmetall guns and MU 90 torpedoes. The helicopters will be equipped with Mokopa air-to-ground missiles.

ThyssenKrupp delivered four Meko A-200 stealth frigates to the South African Navy: the SAS Amatola, SAS Isandlwana, SAS Spioenkop and the SAS Mendi. The frigates feature exterior stealth designs and use a combination of water jet propulsion systems with a conventional 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.
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