Algeria has signed a deal with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport for two new Tiger class corvettes. Algeria is enhancing its Navy and last year took delivery of two Kilo submarines from Russia.
The corvette agreement was announced by United Shipbuilding Corporation on the sidelines of the International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS 2011) in St Petersburg yesterday.
“We have signed two agreements together with Rosoboronexport to sell two corvettes to Algeria and three light [Molniya missile] corvettes to a former Soviet republic,” said Roman Trotsenko, head of the United Shipbuilding Corporation.
Jane’s noted that Algeria has been interested in acquiring Tiger ‘missile frigates’ since early 2006. The Algerians also looked at Project 11661 Gepard-type and Project 11356 frigates. An international tender was issued around March 2007, and Algeria expressed interest in BAE Systems Type 23 frigates and regarding DCNS FREMM type frigates, amongst others, before deciding on the Russian vessels.
The Tiger corvette (Project 20382) is an export model of the Project 20380 Steregushchy class, which is the Russian Navy’s newest corvette class. Russia plans to buy at least 30 Steregushchy class vessels for all major fleets. The first was commissioned in November 2007, according to Jane’s Naval Forces News. The type was exhibited for the first time at IMDS this year.
The Tiger was designed to destroy enemy submarines, surface ships and aircraft and be able to guard borders and patrol exclusive economic zones. Although the hull and superstructure are made of steel, the vessels do feature stealth materials and technologies.
Powered by diesel engines, the vessel has a maximum speed of 27 knots and an economical speed of 14 knots, which gives a range of 4000 nautical miles and an endurance of 15 days, according to Rosoboronexport.
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 such as the Kamov Ka-27, which is carried on the Russian vessels.
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.
According to the IISS’s The Miltary Balance 2011, 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 last year where they joined two Project 877EKM Kilo diesel electric submarines, which Algeria received in 1987-1988.