Russia’s Severnaya Verf shipyard will soon deliver to Algeria two overhauled vessels, a Nanuchka II class corvette and a Koni II class frigate.
The vessels will sail for sea trials in June, and will be delivered to the Algerian Navy in July.
“The contract has been signed in the framework of an agreement between [Russian state-run arms exporter] Rosoboronexport and the Algerian Defence Ministry,” the St Petersburg-based shipyard said in a statement.
Algeria and Severnaya Vert signed a contract in 2007 for the overhaul of three warships of each class. Russia delivered the first pair, consisting of a Project 1234E Nanuchka II class corvette (Rais Hamidou) and a Project 1159T Koni II class frigate (Mourad Rais), to Algeria in February 2011.
About 80% of onboard systems were replaced in the course of repairs, and the ships’ service life was extended for ten years.
“In the course of modernization, the over-aged assets have turned into warships of the 21st century. This complicated task has been accomplished thanks to design studies and high technological discipline of production,” said Andrei Fomichev, Director General of JSC Severnaya Verf. “Conclusion of another foreign contract indicates success of our shipyard at world surface shipbuilding market.”
The second pair of warships is being modernised at Severnaya Verf under a 2008 contract.
Algeria is one of Russia’s largest defence customers, and, according to the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, sales of military equipment to Algeria currently constitute 15% of Russia’s arms exports.
In July last year Algeria signed a deal with Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport for two new Tiger class corvettes as it enhances its Navy. The Tiger corvette (Project 20382) is an export model of the Project 20380 Steregushchy class, which is the Russian Navy’s newest corvette class.
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 2012, 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 2010 where they joined two Project 877EKM Kilo diesel electric submarines, which Algeria received in 1987-1988.
Most recently, Algeria’s ministry of defence ordered two Meko A200 frigates from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). The contract, No. 674/889, was signed on March 26, according to Algerian media, after a year of negotiations. In 2008 Forecast International reported that Algeria was seeking to acquire four new frigates.
TKMS will supply two Meko 200 frigates and six AgustaWestland Super Lynx helicopters under the €2 175 520 000 contract. According to Russia’s Periscope magazine, the ships will be armed with RBS 15 Mk III anti-ship missiles, Umkhonto IR surface-to-air missiles, Oto Melara and Rheinmetall guns and MU 90 torpedoes. The helicopters will be equipped with Mokopa air-to-ground missiles.