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Algerian Navy - Modernisation

The modernisation of the Algerian Navy's assets has become a pressing need as it transitions from a fighting force organised along the lines of the Soviet model into a key partner in joint Mediterranean and North African maritime security efforts. Algeria, after a decade of civil war, is looking towards a widespread military modernisation, is flush with revenues from a high oil price and anxious to move away from dependence on Russian and Soviet-era equipment.

According to SIPRI data, Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia accounted for around three percent of global arms imports for the period 2005-2009, but the volume of major conventional arms delivered to North Africa in 2005-2009 increased by 62 per cent in comparison with 2000-2004. Algeria accounted for around 89 per cent of transfers to North Africa during this period, rising from 18th to 9th largest recipient of major conventional weapons globally. Morocco placed significant orders in 2008 and 2009, leading to concerns that Algeria and Morocco are entering into what is regarded as an 'arms race'. Morocco turned to the USA for F-16C combat aircraft, presumably in response to Algerian Su-30MKA acquisitions, and to France and the Netherlands for FREMM and SIGMA frigates respectively.

Type 636 (Kilo) diesel-electric submarines

Algeria received its first two submarines, Romeo-class vessels, from the Soviet Union in 1983. In 1987 and 1988, the country acquired two Kilo-class submarines, quiet-running, highspeed vessels armed with both torpedoes and mines, from the Soviet Union. The Romeos were retired for use as training ships. By 1993 two additional Kilo-class submarines are reportedly on order, but these reports proved premature.

In June 2006, the navy ordered two new Type 636 (Kilo) diesel-electric submarines, due to be delivered late in 2007. By April 2009 Admiralty Shipyards was building two Kilo class submarines for Algeria to be delivered in 2009 and 2010. As of 2010 the 636 series diesel submarines were being repaired and modernized, but the Algerian side had not stated anything on the purchase of the new subs.

According to Russian media reports, Algeria took delivery of its first new Kilo-class (Project 636) diesel-electric submarines March 2010, with the second-of-class handed over earlier in late July 2010. Subsequently, in August 2010, the Algerian landing ship Khalaat Beni Rached arrived in St Petersburg, Russia, amid speculation that it would escort the two submarines on their maiden voyage to the Mediterranean. In September 2010, the second and final 'Kilo'-class (Project 636) diesel-electric submarine was received. This delivery completed the contract signed in mid-2006 for the two subs. Admiralteyskie Verfi (Admiralty Shipyards) in St. Petersburg signed the contract for construction of the two boats in mid-2006, estimated to be worth USD400 million. The first submarine (Hull 01336) is believed to have been laid down in the same year, with the second (Hull 01337) following in 2007. The first boat was launched in November 2008 and the second in April 2009. Thereafter, the lead unit is understood to have commenced state acceptance sea trials in late August 2009, with its sister ship following suit in late October. The Kilo-class boats have a minelaying capability, being able to deploy 24 mines in lieu of torpedoes. It is reported that they may be fitted with an SA-N-5/8 portable SAM launcher.

Four frigates

Four frigates are to be ordered, two produced by the company winning the tender the other two produced in Mers el Kebir. Initially, the French warship builder DCNS offered to sell four 1,700-ton Gowind 170 corvettes designed for a crew of 65 and equipped with a helicopter deck to the Algerian Navy for around EUR 800 million.

Russia is a traditional supplier and the Project 20380 Steregushchiy class is likely to be considered. Starting in April 2006, a feasibility study of the $800 million project for the construction of two frigates was conducted. The talks were not making any headway because three companies want to build the frigates, and Rosoboronexport, Russia's main state-owned arms-export monopoly, had not yet mended relations with St. Petersburg-based Severnaya Verf (Northern Shipyard).

At the end of June 2011, Algeria signed a deal with Russias United Shipbuilding Corporation and state arms exporter Rosoboronexport for two new Tiger class corvettes / frigates. Algeria had been interested in acquiring Tiger missile frigates since early 2006. The Tiger corvette (Project 20382) is an export model of the Project 20380 Steregushchy class, which is the Russian Navys newest corvette class. Ordered by 2011, they were to be commissioned by 2015.

As of 2010 Russia was missing from the list of potential suppliers for Algeria's planned acquisition of four frigates, and in early 2012 the Algerian Navy signed a 2.176 million (US$2.886 million) contract with Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) for MEKO A-200 class frigates.

By March 2007, talks on the construction of frigates for Algeria had come to a deadlock because three factories were bidding for the project. In March 2007, Algeria officially invited Russia to bid in a frigate tender and in joint warship construction tenders. The deal under discussion was for two Project 1135.6 frigates along with upgrades for two Algerian Konis (presumably the two that were not upgraded in 2000). The price thrown around back then was "$800-900 million. Talks on the Russian construction of frigates for Algeria came to a deadlock later in 2007 because three factories were bidding for the project.

During chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Algeria in July 2008 it was widely rumored that Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) had won the contract for frigates by under-cutting DCNS' bid, with a package worth between EUR4 and EUR6 billion. Since then Italy's Finmeccanica backed out of the competition because its offer didn't meet all of the Algerian navy's specifications, and it didn't put in a fresh one. but by 2009 Italy's Fincantieri shipbuilders found themselves back in the running on a contract to supply the Algerian navy with four advanced FREMM stealth frigates in competition, a deal potentially worth $11.6 billion. In September 2009 London's Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Algeria had shifted negotiations for 6 FREMM multirole frigates from France's DCNS to Italy's Fincantieri. The paper reports that Algeria will receive the frigates in 2011.

Italian FREMM frigates are broadly similar to the French designs, but with an Italian Empar radar (instead of the French Herakles) and different mast, along with Italian electronics and Otomat/ Marte anti-ship missiles (instead of French Exocets). MBDA's Aster 15 missiles are the main air defense armament for French and Italian ships alike, and the FREMM air defense variant can reportedly be armed with longer range Aster 30s as well.

As of 2010 Russia was missing from the list of potential suppliers for Algeria's planned acquisition of four frigates, with British [BAe are offering upgraded new build Type 23s], French [offering FREMMs ], German and Italian [also FREMM] shipbuilders shortlisted. Algeria's traditional North African rival, Morocco, is scheduled to receive an anti-submarine version of the FREMM in 2013, under a 2007 contract.

In early 2012 the Algerian Navy signed a 2.176 million (US$2.886 million) contract with Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) for MEKO A-200 class frigates. Although TKMS did not initially confirm details of the deal, which was signed on 26 March 2012, the seemingly high price was said to cover the full combat system for four ships and six AgustaWestland Super Lynx helicopters, as well as support and training. The German shipyard will supply two Meko frigates to Algeria including six helicopters. The contract includes the construction of a dockyard in Algeria for the local assembly of two more frigates.

By September 2015 the first of the Algerian National Navy (ANN)s upcoming MEKO A-200AN multi-mission frigates was reportedly ready to begin their sea trials (Navy Recognition). The MEKO A-200AN will play a central role in the ANNs future surface fleet.


In 2008, Algeria bought three British-built Nakhoda Ragam Class Corvettes from the Royal Brunei Navy via the German Lrssen ship yard. The deal with Algeria fell through, and by early 2012 the Indonesian Military (TNI) reportedly wanted to buy the vessels by now classified as light frigates - for $395 million.

In 2012, Algerian military officials signed a contract with China for the construction of three C28A corvettes, based on the design for Pakistan's F-22P Zulfiquar-class, to be fitted with Chinese and Western systems [to be clear, these vessels are builtin China, no Pakstan]. The lead ship of the project S28A bearing the number "920" was started on the construction of the Hudong Shipyard in 2013 and was launched on August 16, 2014. Head corvette was to be handed over to Algeria by 38 months after the date of signature of the contract (ie, May 2015), and the remaining two - presumably with an interval of six months each - so, apparently, the implementation of the contract is with a certain delay. By then, the second and third being built for Algeria corvettes S28A project bearing the number "921" (launched on 6 February 2015) and "922" (launched on July 31, 2015) at the Hudong Shipyard in the stage of completion afloat.

On 06 October 2015 the Adhafer (920), arrived in Algeria the first of three C-28A corvettes from construction company China Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group. The second C28A corvette made by China's Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, officially began use in the Algerian Navy on 10 March 2016. This was the second corvette to enter service. Another C28A-class guided missile corvette was commissioned by the Algerian Navy on 12 July 2016 at a port of Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group in Shanghai, becoming the third of its kind in the African country's Navy.

All three C28A corvettes were constructed to the specifications of Lloyd's Register, a maritime classification society a first for Chinese shipbuilders. New technologies and equipment were used, leading to improved comprehensive performance for the vessels. The corvettes are also fitted with Western electronic equipment and Smart-SMk2 radar systems from the French defense company Thales. However, all sensitive components and software will be installed only after the vessels have been delivered to Algeria.

These ships are smaller than the Type 054 Jiangkai, but a bit larger than the Type 055 Jiangwei or the Type 053 Jiangwei frigates. The C28A corvettes are around 120 meters long, 14.4 meters wide, have a draft of 3.87 meters, and a full displacement of 2,880 tons. Powered by MTU diesel engines, the warships feature some stealth elements, including the placement of their exhaust funnels by the waterline in order to reduce the infrared signature. Each vessel is equipped with a stationary helicopter base, which can carry the Super Lynx military helicopters developed by AgustaWestland. All the C28A corvettes are equipped with Chinese weapons systems, including eight C-802 anti-ship missiles, a FM-90N launcher for short-range HQ-7 surface-to-air missiles, an H/PJ-26 76-millimeter main gun, two sets of Type 730 CIWS and two triple-tube 324-millimeter torpedo launchers.

The Algerian Navy Algerias Navy will take delivery in 2022 of a 96 meter corvette from Chinas Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group (HZ). It was not immediately clear which type of corvette Algeria would receive, but it could be similar to the Pattani or Type 056 (NATO reporting name Jiangdao) classes. UK-based maritime classification society Lloyd's Register will provide assurance and certification services for the vessels being built in China for the Algerian Navy. Lloyds Register had a long relationship with Hudong-Zhonghua and Algerias navy, and supported the construction of three 2 800 tonne corvettes for the Algerian Navy between 2013 and 2016. The Algerian Naval Force project, consisting of a 96-metre corvette will be designed and constructed to LRs Naval Ship Rules. The Corvette is designed for operations including patrol, escort and protection of maritime interests within the nations Exclusive Economic Zone. The Corvette incorporates a helipad and a crew of 78 people, has a range of 3,500 nautical miles and is capable of top speeds in excess of 27 knots. It is scheduled for delivery in 2022.

Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs)

Jane's learned in August 2009 that Algeria was in the running to acquire three 95 m F2000 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) built in the UK for the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) but never put into service. It was understood that any deal involving the three vessels would be structured on a twin-track basis: GNS would broker the sale of the ships to Algeria on behalf of the Sultanate of Brunei; while BVT Surface Fleet, as design authority, would negotiate a parallel contract with Algeria for the regeneration and refit of the ships plus an associated program of support and training. However, as of mid-2010, it appeared increasingly unlikely that Algeria would take up the offer.

After having exhausted the tracks of Fincanieri and Navantia, the Algerian navy was interested in Chinese OPVs to strengthen the capacity of its coast guard. With the May 2019 visit of General Major Haouli, commander of the naval forces in China, it was a high seas patrol boat of CSSC which was interesting for the Algerian navy. This is revealed by the East Pendulum site, which closely followed the Algerian CFN's tour of China.

On the technical level, the 1500 tonnes displacement vessel would be similar to the Pakistani MPV, itself quite resembling a Type 056 frigate. It would be 95 meters long and have two engines allowing it to sail at 27 knots. It has a helipad at the rear and can be armed with a 30mm teleoperated cannon and several 12.7mm gun stations.

Ocea FPB type 98 Fast Patrol Boat

The shipbuilder Ocea of Saint-Nazaire launched the first of a series of 20 patrol boats for the Algerian navy in October 2008. FPB type 98, this unit length 30 meters, which bears the hull number 334, is powered by two water jets, providing a speed of about 30 knots. It has a 30 mm cannon British type DS-30B Mk 2. OCEA was founded in 1987 by the acquisition of the shipyard POUVREAU (1934), well renowed for its aluminium expertise.

Amphibious Warfare

As of 2009 the Algerian Navy operated two Kalaat class Landing Ship Logistics [LSL - a term used by the UK armed forces to describe the "Round Table" class landing ship used for support of amphibious warfare missions] and a single Polnochny-B class medium landing ship, the latter commissioned in 1967. The Algerian landing ship supplied by the (then) Soviet Union in the mid-1970s is estimated to be approaching the end of its service life. A replacement vessel to continue coastal transport, support missions and training tasks will likely be required by the middle of this decade. The acquisition of any well deck equipped vessels like an LPD or LHD may have an impact on the requirement for smaller landing craft.

Algeria planned to develop an amphibious capability, but has no marines. The navy planned to acquire at least one LPD. In 2008 it was reported that Algiers was in the market for new amphibious support ships. There is little indication of what kind of vessel the navy would like to acquire to replace these ships, but some reports have talked of the service being interested in acquiring a design similar to the French Navy's Mistral. However, this would be a major step for the force and would indicate an apparent interest in adopting a comprehensive force projection capability for amphibious and humanitarian support operations far beyond Algerian shores. At the same time the force has seemed to adopt an increasingly outward-looking vision, having exercised with the US Navy in the Mediterranean Sea in October 2007 to hone its skills in fighting waterborne terrorism.

In August 2011 it was reported that Algeria had ordered a San Giorgio class amphibious transport ship (LPD) from Italy. The smallest aviation-capable LPD, the San Giorgio class ships are 133 meters (435 feet) long and displace only 8,000 tons, while most other LPDs are 20,000 tons or larger. The San Giorgio has a limited vehicle, helicopter and landing ship capacity, but they can still carry a small (400 men) battalion of troops, 36 vehicles, six landing craft (in a well in the rear of the ship) and up to six helicopters. The ship will be built at Fincantieri's Italian shipyards.


In September 2009 London's Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Algeria was negotiating a contract with AgustaWestland for about 100 helicopters. Reports indicated that the deal involves AgustaWestland's popular AW109 light utility helicopter, including both AW109A and AW109 LUH models. Larger twin-engine AW139 helicopters are also reportedly part of the deal.

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Page last modified: 24-06-2021 17:50:10 ZULU