Navantia upgrades Algerian amphibious ship


Spanish shipyard Navantia has handed over the amphibious ship LSTH Kalaat Beni Rached to the Algerian Navy after a major 18 month long upgrade.

The 2 130 tonne vessel was handed over in Ferrol, Spain, on June 12 after complete overhauls of engines and systems, life extension repairs and the integration of a new command and control system, new gun and targeting systems and the structural modernisation of the vessels for greater performance and safety. The handover ceremony was attended by Algerian Navy representatives and Ferrol repairs director Miguel Rodriguez Lorenzo.

Navantia received the Algerian contract in July 2012, covering Kalaat Beni Rached (BDSL 473) and her sister ship Kalaat Beni Hammad (BDSL 472). The latter arrived in Ferrol earlier this month for her overhaul, according to IHS Janes.

Work on Kalaat Beni Rached began in November 2012 and involved some 200 Navantia personnel. The work is estimated to be worth 75 million euros, Navantia’s biggest ever contract for its Navantia Reparaciones repair division.

The two amphibious logistics ships were built in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. They feature a bow ramp to land vehicles with, a large internal vehicle storage area and ramps fore and aft. Although a hangar is not fitted, a helicopter deck can operate heavy helicopters.

Algeria is in the process of expanding its navy 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 1 000 km of coastline. The country is also maintaining a strong navy to deter its neighbours, notably Morocco.

In April 2012 it emerged that Algeria had signed a contract with the China Shipbuilding Trading Company for three light frigates, after ordering two Meko A200N frigates from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in March 2012. The three light frigates will displace around 2 800 tons fully loaded, and will be powered by MTU diesel engines. Algeria has also ordered two new Tiger class corvettes from Russia. The Tiger corvette (Project 20382) is an export model of the Project 20380 Steregushchy class, which is the Russian Navy’s newest corvette class.

In January Italian shipyard Fincantieri launched the Algerian Navy’s Kalaat Beni-Abbes landing helicopter dock ship, which will be delivered to Algeria later this year. Algeria may order a second of the type in the coming months.