The programme called for the delivery of three F3000S frigates for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, as well as associated support, including ILS, training and shore facilities. As programme prime contractor, Thales worked with DCN/Armaris for the platform architecture, shipbuilding and propulsion systems and with Armaris subsidiary SFCS for the combat systems.
The F3000S frigates are based on the highly successful La Fayette design. Basic characteristics include an overall length of 133 metres, a beam of 17 metres, and an average displacement of 4,500 tons. They are equipped with the most advanced systems, including the Arabel/Aster surface-to-air anti-missile system, already in service on France's Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
Al Riyadh, the first of the three frigates, was officially handed to Royal Saudi Naval Forces in the third quarter 2002.