- The Sandown-class minehunter vessel protects vast Saudi coastline
Abu Dhabi February 26, 2015: The final ‘Ship of the Day’ being showcased at NAVDEX, the largest naval defence exhibition in the region, has been unveiled today as “HMS Al Jawf”. NAVDEX is taking place all week, alongside IDEX - the world’s leading joint defence exhibition. HMS Al Jawf is a Sandown-class of three minehunter vessels in active service for the Royal Saudi Navy.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has an extensive coastline, encompassing the Red Sea (approximately 1,760 km) and the Arabian Gulf (approximately 560 km). The Royal Saudi Navy headquarters is in Riyadh, with the Western Fleet based in the Red Sea with the main base at Jeddah. The Eastern Fleet is based in the Persian Gulf with the headquarters at Jubail, the berthing port for HMS Al Jawf.
HMS Al Jawf was built by Vosper Thorneycroft, once a British shipbuilding group. Construction on the ship began in August 1989 and the ship officially entered service in September, 1990. The Saudi minehunters are closely based on the Sandown class of minehunters developed by Vosper for the British Royal Navy.
Minehunters are shallow-draught vessels, as they are often called upon to work in enclosed bodies of water such as shipping channels or harbors. The body length of HMS Al Jawf is 52.5 meters and 10.8 meters wide, with a displacement weight of 600 tons. When at sea, HMS Al Jawf uses two main diesel engines, enabling the ship to reach sailing speeds of up to 13 knots. When mine hunting is taking place, electric motors slow the speed of the vessel.
A minehunter naval vessel actively detects and destroys individual naval mines using imaging sonar to detect and classify targets before deploying divers or remotely operated vehicles to inspect and neutralise the threat. The computerised ship positioning systems and variable depth sonar featured on the Sandown-class minehunters has established the fleet as the most advanced minehunters in the world.
Visitors to NAVDEX this week have been able to explore a many vessels. International warships have been moored alongside the dock edge to welcome NAVDEX guests aboard these visiting naval vessels and present company equipment and technology which are operational on-board. Earlier this week, HMS Shoreham M112 of the British Royal Navy and another Sandown-class minehunter was featured as a ‘Ship of the Day’. This is the first time HMS Al Jawf has featured at NAVDEX.