Morocco’s third SIGMA frigate completes sea trials


The third and final SIGMA class frigate for the Royal Moroccan Navy has successfully completed sea acceptance trials ahead of delivery in September.

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding said that the 98 metre long vessel left Vlissingen on May 22 for her sea acceptance trials (SAT) in the North Sea, on schedule as agreed in the contract.

During the SAT, an intensive programme was carried out in which the platform as well as the sensor weapons and communications suite were extensively tested, to the full satisfaction of the Royal Moroccan Navy, Damen said.

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.

The first SIGMA frigate was transferred to the Royal Moroccan Navy on September 10, 2011. The second frigate, Sultan Moulay Ismail, was transferred to the Royal Moroccan Navy on March 10 this year. After commissioning, the crew continued with three weeks of Sail Safety Training in Den Helder and the North Sea before sailing for Morocco.

King Mohammed VI, Supreme Commander and Chief of Staff of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, officially commissioned the first SIGMA frigate, Tarik Ben Ziyad, on December 23, 2011, in Casablanca.

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 being 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.

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.