The Saudi Ministry of Defence announced on 25 October that the first batch of Couach patrol boats had been delivered to the Royal Saudi Navy Western Fleet. The 22 m patrol boat had arrived at King Faisal Naval Base in Jeddah by 9 September. The Commander of the Western Fleet, Rear Admiral Yahya bin Muhammad Al-Asiri, raised the flag over the first patrol boat, marking its entry into active duty in the fleet, in the presence of the CEO of Couach Florent Battistella. Hyun Soo Lee, LIG Nex1’s executive president of international business, also attended the delivery ceremony and that the new vessels are fitted with modern high-precision missiles.
The new FPB 2200 patrol boats that the French shipyard Couach is delivering are armed with LIG Nex1’s Low-Cost Guided Imaging Rocket (LOGIR) missile launcher for countering small attack boats. The FPB 2200s have a length of 22,35 meters, a beam of 5,6 meters, and a draft of 1,34 meters. They are powered by two engines of 1200 HP to reach a top speed of 30 knots. They can carry a complement of 8 sailors. The patrol boats include a sophisticated combination of electronic systems such as tracking devices, optical/thermal sensors, and maritime navigation that allow them to perform search, surveillance, and tracking tasks with a highly intelligent electronic system.
The Low-Cost Guided Imaging Rocket was a weapons system under development for the US Navy as part of ONR’s Low-Cost Imaging Terminal Seeker (LCITS) FNC. The program provided a precision guided 2.75 inch (70 mm) rocket for use with existing Hydra 70 systems in service, as such it has many similarities with the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System program. The LOGIR would guide to a position supplied by the launching aircraft, using imaging infrared in the terminal phase making it a true fire-and-forget weapon. The South Korean version, designated K-LOGIR, is used on the ROK Marine Corps Bigung (Poniard) mobile coastal defense system.
Couach has set up a department dedicated to defence and professional boats. The company intends to become one of the leading suppliers of crafts to military, customs and other international government authorities. More than 500 professional vessels have been delivered. The design office, composed of highly qualified engineers and technicians, design and build ships to meet the specifications and specific requests of each government administration. From boat design to delivery, all production stages are carried out at the shipyard in Gujan-Mestras by Couach teams. The Couach workforce includes 21 workshops, made up of a large panel of craftsmen.