Saudi Navy Shows Interest in Russian-Made Frigate, Artillery Warship

9th Edition of International Maritime Defense Show in Russia

The kingdom is world’s third biggest military spender ($67.6bn)

DESPARDES — A Saudi Royal navy delegation at the St. Petersburg Maritime Defense Show displayed interest in Russian-made frigate Gepard-3.9 and Project 22800 ‘Karakurt’ missile corvettes, the press office of the Zelenodolsk Shipyard reported on Friday.

“The visitors displayed a special interest in the frigate Gepard-3.9, Project 22800 small missile ships, Project 22160 patrol vessels, Project 21980 anti-subversion boats and Project A223 amphibious assault boats,” the Shipyard’s representatives said.

The visitors at the St. Petersburg naval show could also view the Project 21631 small missile ship, the Project 21980 special-purpose boat and the Project 22160 patrol vessel built by the Zelenodolsk Shipyard, the statement said.

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Project 22800 Karakurt-class missile corvettes are a Russian series of green-water multipurpose missile/artillery warships. The Corvettes of this class developed by specialists of the St. Petersburg-based Almaz Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering displace about 800 tons and develop a speed of over 30 knots and endurance of 15 days.

They are armed with Kalibr or Oniks missiles, and also with the modernized AK-176MA 76.2mm artillery system.

The Project 11661 Gepard-3.9 frigate is designated to carry out patrol missions and protect state maritime borders and exclusive economic zones, support maritime operations and be present in the areas of national interest.

These frigates have a displacement of 1,500 tons and equipped with artillery guns, anti-ship, air defense and anti-submarine warfare weapons.

The Saudi interest at the show follows visit to Paris Air Show where the Kingdom’s delegation signed several acquisitions, strategic partnerships and JVs with the aim to boost localization and Saudization of its defense industry.

The kingdom is world’s third biggest military spender ($67.6bn), and only 2 percent of this spending is within the country.

Last month, President Donald Trump called on other countries to step up in contributing to the defense of international assets in the strategic, tense waters of the Strait of Hormuz– the US Energy Information Administration calls the Strait of Hormuz “the world’s most important oil transit chokepoint.”

Trump’s statement came as his top diplomat visited Saudi Arabia to discuss joint security efforts and potentially advance new arms deals.

The kingdom also aims to localize over 50 percent of military equipment spending by 2030.

The ninth International Maritime Defense Show runs at the Lenexpo Exhibition Center in St. Petersburg on July 10-14, mainly aimed at promoting Russian-made armament among foreign buyers.

A total of 353 companies, including 28 foreign firms from 19 countries are taking part in the show. Besides China, Germany and South Korea, Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation and the Rostec state corporation are also participating in the exhibition.