Second of three Sigma frigates transferred to Royal Moroccan Navy

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The Royal Moroccan Navy has received its second Sigma class frigate, Sultan Moulay Ismail, after the vessel completed outfitting and sea trials.

The vessel was transferred on schedule to the Royal Moroccan Navy on Monday by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in Vlissingen, the Netherlands.

After commissioning, the crew will continue with another three weeks of Sail Safety Training in Den Helder and the North Sea. This training will be conducted by training teams of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

At the beginning of April, after conclusion of this training period, frigate Sultan Moulay Ismail will start her maiden voyage to Morocco.

King Mohammed VI, Supreme Commander and Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed Forces, officially commissioned the first SIGMA frigate, Tarik Ben Ziyad, on December 23 in Casablanca. The vessel was transferred to the Royal Moroccan Navy in September last year.

The SIGMA (Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach) frigate is one of three being built for Morocco. They 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.

The third frigate is scheduled for Sea Acceptance Trials in May.

Morocco also has on order a French “FREMM” multipurpose frigate, scheduled for delivery next year. It 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.