Progress on Algerian corvettes, frigates


The first of the Algerian Navy’s new Meko frigates is ready for sea trials while its C28A corvettes are being fitted with weapons and sensors prior to delivery from China.

The first of two Meko A-200 AN frigates was seen over a week ago at the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) shipyard in Kiel, Germany, where it appeared ready to start sea trials. The vessel was launched on 5 December last year, after being ordered in March 2012.

Photos show most of the vessel’s weapons have been fitted apart from anti-ship missiles, reports Navy Recognition. Delivery of the first frigate should take place either late this year or early 2016.

Algeria’s Meko frigates will be equipped with the Saab Sea Giraffe AMB (Agile Multi-Beam) 3D surveillance radar; Saab CEROS 200 radar/electro-optical (EO) fire control directors; Thales UMS4132 Kingklip sonar; OTO Melara 127/64 LW (Lightweight) 127 mm naval gun; MSI-Defence 30 mm cannons; Rheinmetall Defence MASS softkill decoy launchers; Denel Dynamics Umkhonto-IR missiles; MU90 torpedoes and Saab/Diehl Defence RBS 15 Mk3 anti-ship missiles.

Algeria has also ordered six AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 maritime helicopters for the vessels and these are being fitted with Thales Compact FLASH dipping sonars, MU90 torpedoes and Mokopa missiles.

Meanwhile, China is equipping the second Algerian C28A corvette with its main weapons, fire control radar and other sensors. Photos on the Chinese Internet show that the ship has received its 76 mm main gun and FM-90N launcher for HQ-7 surface-to-air missiles, reports IHS Jane’s Navy International. The vessels will also be fitted with YJ-82/C-802 anti-ship missile launchers.

Also seen on the corvette were radar radomes. Once in Algeria the vessels will be fitted with Thales Smart-S Mk 2 radar and command, control, and communication systems. When the second vessel (921) was launched in February, it was fitted with two Type 730 series close-in weapon system (CIWS) turrets.

The China Shipbuilding and Trading Company (CSTC), which is building the corvettes a Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard, will deliver the first C28A later this year. Three were ordered in 2012.

The first corvette was launched in February this year. The first vessel (920) was launched on August 16 last year.

The C28A corvettes are around 120 metres long, 14.4 metres wide and have a draft of 3.87 metres. They displace about 2 880 tons fully loaded, and are powered by MTU diesel engines. The corvettes feature some stealth in their design, including the placement of the exhausts towards their waterline to reduce infrared signature.

As part of its naval modernisation programme, Algeria will in 2018 take delivery of two Project 636 Varshavyanka (Kilo class) diesel electric submarines from Admiralty Shipyards in Russia. Algeria has also ordered two new Tiger class corvettes from Russia.

The North African country recently took delivery of its largest ship, the amphibious transport dock platform Kalaat Beni Abbes, which arrived in Algeria in April. The Kalaat Beni Abbes was ordered in July 2011 from Orizzonte Sistemi Navali, at a cost of more than 400 million euros.

An internal floodable dock is capable of accommodating a ready-to-go 20-metre landing craft; two landing craft of the same size can travel attached to the ship’s deck, and can be deployed using a system of davits.

The vessel can accommodate 15 main battle tanks or 30 light tanks or armoured personnel carriers. Five medium helicopters can be carried in a hangar. Armament includes Aster 15 missiles, a single OTO Melara 76 mm gun at the bow and two 25 mm cannons. Electronics include Selex Sistemi Integrati EMPAR radar, SCLAR-H chaff/flare decoy launchers and Athena-C combat management system.

The Kalaat Beni-Abbes is 143 metres long with a 21.5 metre beam and has a full load displacement of about 8 800 tons. With two diesel engines, it can reach speeds of over 20 knots, and carry more than 430 soldiers, 12 flight service specialists and 152 crew, for a total of about 600 people.