Moroccan Navy receives third and final SIGMA frigate


Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding has handed over the third and final Sigma-class frigate to the Moroccan navy, Allal Ben Abdellah,

The frigate was transferred to the Royal Moroccan Navy during a ceremony in Rotterdam on Saturday, which coincided with the 35th edition of World Port Days. Damen said that the delivery of the last ship of a series of three marks the culmination of a period of dedicated and successful partnership with the Royal Moroccan Navy. All three ships were delivered in time and on schedule, and reportedly met all the customer’s requirements.

The delivery of the last of three frigates was achieved within four and a half years from the effective date of contract, after three years of construction. The first frigate, Tarik Ben Zayid, was delivered on September 10, 2011. King Mohammed VI, Supreme Commander and Chief of Staff of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, officially commissioned the vessel on December 23, 2011, in Casablanca. The second, frigate, Sultan Moulay Ismail, was commissioned on March 10, 2012.

Allal Ben Abdellah completed sea trials in June. However, after commissioning, the crew of Allal Ben Abdellah will continue with another three weeks of Sail Safety Training in Den Helder and North Sea. This training will be conducted by training teams of the Royal Netherlands Navy. At the end of September, after conclusion of this training period, the Allal Ben Abdellah will start her maiden voyage to Morocco.

The three SIGMA (Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach) frigates were ordered in April 2008 under a contract that includes one SIGMA 10513 ship 105 metres long (pennant number 613) and two SIGMA 9813 ships 98 metres long (pennant numbers 614, 615), all with commonality in the systematic arrangement including a 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 Mk 2 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 are fitted with a 76 mm 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 have flight decks and hangar accommodation for a medium-sized helicopter and are fitted with Eurotorp torpedo launchers.

Sigma class ships have a maximum speed of 28 knots. At 18 knots, their range is 3,600 nautical miles.

Morocco also has on order a French FREMM multipurpose frigate, which was launched in September last 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.

The Royal Moroccan Navy SIGMA Class frigates are equipped to conduct the traditional naval tasks as well as maritime security operations. The vessels are also suited to support humanitarian aid operations.