Lead Moroccan SIGMA frigate completes sea trials


The first SIGMA-class (Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach) frigate build for Royal Moroccan Navy has completed its sea acceptance trials in the North Sea, builders Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding says.

The 105-metre frigate that must still be publicly named has left Vlissingen on May 6 and wrapped up the trials May 20. The ship, bearing the pennant number 613, reportedly underwent a “very intensive programme … in which the platform as well as the sensor weapons and communications suite was extensively tested. The tests were performed by representatives of the yard in close cooperation with representatives of the subcontractors, the Royal Moroccan Navy and the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Damen, in a statement, said the commanding officer, Captain (RNLN) Jilles Goedknegt, “was very satisfied with the results of the sea trials. The seakeeping capabilities and the maneuverability of the ship proved to be very good and the performance of the combat system were excellent.”

The Royal Moroccan Navy placed an order for three SIGMA frigates in April 2008. The contract includes one SIGMA 10513 ship of 105m length (pennant number 613), with delivery after 44 months, and two SIGMA 9813 ships of 98m (pennant numbers 614, 615), delivery 50 and 56 months after signature, all with commonality in the systematic arrangement including a state of the art Tacticos combat management system with antisubmarine, surface warfare, air defence and electronic warfare capabilities. Electronic systems include a Smart-S Mk2 surveillance radar, a LIROD Mk2 tracking radar, a Thales Kingklip sonar system, an IFF system, an integrated communication system comprising external communication system and FOCON internal communication subsystem, two target designation sights, a VIGILE ESM system, a SCORPION ECM system and an integrated navigation system.

The shipyard notes the vessels will be fitted with a 76mm Oto Melara main gun, as well as MBDA Exocet surface-to-surface and MICA surface-to-air missile system, the latter using vertical launch.

The frigates will further have flight decks and hangar accommodation for a medium-sized helicopter and be fitted with Eurotorp torpedo launchers.

Ship 613 was launched in July last year. Frigate 614 was launched in February and will undergo sea trials at year’ end, while vessel 615 will launch at the Damen yard in Vlissingen (Flushing) in September.

In addition, Morocco has on order a French “FREMM” multipurpose frigate, scheduled for delivery next year. The current fleet includes two Floréal-class frigates and a Descubierta-class corvette in addition to some 21 patrol craft and a number of other ships and vessels. Four more patrol craft are also on order.