A Pohang-class corvette presented by the government of South Korea to Egypt arrived at the Alexandria, Ras El-Teen naval base on October 26, 2017. Once the Corvette entered Egyptian naval service, it was named ENS Shabab Misr (Youth of Egypt).
The 'Egypt Youth' Corvette was gifted to Egypt as part of wider efforts to bolster military relations between the two countries' armed forces and to boost cooperation in all fields, the Egyptian military said in a statement.
Following the visit of Egyptian defense minister Sedki Sobhi to South Korea in September 2017, Egypt’s defense ministry announced it would be receiving at least one navy vessel from South Korea. The ministry did not specify the exact vessel or vessels that would be transferred to Egypt at the time.
During the ship's voyage to Egypt, a joint military drill was conducted between Egyptian naval forces and their South Korean and Indian allies.
The Pohang-Class Corvette
The Republic of Korea Navy (ROKS) received 24 Pohang-class corvettes which entered service between 1984 and 1993. Around 18 remain in service and will be replaced by the Incheon-class frigate – it has also been suggested that Egypt may be getting Incheon vessels.
Pohang class ships were equipped to perform anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-aircraft operations in the littoral environment.
Egypt received the former ROKS Jinju, a Pohang -class corvette built by Hyundai Heavy Industries and commissioned into ROK Navy in 1988.
The Korean corvette has a range of 4,500 nautical miles (8,334 kilometers) at 32 knots and is capable of carrying 1,240 tons. It has various calibers of guns and can launch torpedoes and sea missiles. The Corvette was announced to be equipped with the latest navigation and signal systems.
The Relations between Egypt and South Korea
Egyptian President Abdul Fatah el-Sisi paid a visit to South Korea in March 2016 in order to promote economic cooperation between Korea and Egypt.
Egypt’s President signed nine agreements and memos with South Korean President Park Chung-hee in Seoul in several fields of cooperation.
The deals signed with Seoul include railway security system upgrades, the establishment of a joint technological university, developments at the Alexandria seaport and memorandums of understanding between the ministries of education, higher education, justice and trade from both countries. One memo also seeks to facilitate Korean loans to Egypt, with a US$3 billion financing package agreed with the Korean export and import bank.
Both sides have also agreed on boosting cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, given the strategic importance of energy in achieving economic and social development.
South Korea-Egypt defense ties received a boost when the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in Cairo in late March 2017.
The Egyptian Minister of Defense, Sedki Sobhi has visited South Korea in September 2017, at the invitation of South Korea. During the visit, Sobhi conducted a series of field tours, including to a number of training facilities and military industries, including to a shipyard and naval base, during which he held a meeting with the commander of the South Korean navy.
In talks with his South Korean counterpart Song Young-moo, Sobhi said that Egypt had expressed interest in procuring South Korean military equipment and entering defense industrial joint-venture programs.
The defense ministers of South Korea and Egypt agreed to deepen the partnership between their countries on North Korea, and in talks with his South Korean counterpart, Egyptian Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi stressed that his country has already severed all military ties with North Korea.
Egypt's navy, the largest in the Middle East and North Africa, is tasked with protecting over 2,000 km of the country's coastline in the Mediterranean and Red Seas.
Commander of the Egyptian Navy, Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled Hassan, said, "The Egyptian Navy has a clear strategy for the development of naval forces. The aim of the development program is to ensure forces keep pace with global technological advances, so they remain able to address conventional and non-conventional threats to the security of Egypt and the Middle East."
"The Navy has been reorganized and divided into two fleets in order to enhance command and control efficiency and enable commanders at all levels to assess situations promptly and take the appropriate action. The reorganization ensures the flexibility necessary to execute responses commensurate with the nature of the threat being posed," said the Navy commander.
It is a three-pronged approach. The first prong focuses on the education and training of personnel through the development of the Navy’s educational system. The second includes maintaining the technical and combat efficacy of existing naval units and upgrading them with modern equipment, machinery, and defense systems, while the third involves the acquisition of the latest naval hardware.
The arrival of the South Korean corvette is the latest in a series of acquisitions and comes just over a week after Egypt welcomed its first GoWind corvette from French Naval Group and the second Type 209/1400 submarine from German TKMS.
On October 19, 2017, President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi raised the Egyptian flag on a number of newly-joined naval vessels during his participation in "Zat Al-Sawari" naval drills carried out by the Egyptian navy on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Egyptian Naval Day.
The "Zat al-Sawari" maneuvers that took place in Alexandria were meant to raise the capabilities of the naval forces in confronting potential maritime threats.