Egypt's navy has launched on September 7, 2018, the first Egyptian manufactured Gowind 2500-class Corvette. The ship, named Port Said, is manufactured by Alexandria’s Al-Tersana Company, with technical assistance from Naval Group (formerly DCNS), using Egyptian labor.
Egypt Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki said during the launch ceremony that “the frigate is now the most advanced piece of Egypt's marine forces.” The warship is aimed to enhance Egypt’s naval efficiency “to achieve maritime security and protect borders and economic interests in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean, while ensuring safe maritime navigation and bolstering security of the Suez Canal,” the defense minister added.
The Corvette is part of a €1 billion deal signed with France in 2014 to provide four corvettes to the Egyptian naval forces. The first Corvette was built in France and the other three corvettes will be built in Egypt under a transfer of technology agreement. The vessels are scheduled to be delivered to the navy by 2019.
Egypt received the first corvette frigate manufactured by the French company in September 2017.
In 2014, Egypt contracted the French company DCNS to buy four Corvettes, three of which will be constructed in Alexandria Shipyard. The value of the contract is estimated between 300 and 400 million euros.
On April 16, 2015, DCNS announced that it has started to construct the first Gowind 2500 Corvette for Egypt in the naval shipyard of Lorient. The first Gowind 2500 corvette, Al-Fateh, started its sea trials on March 13, 2017.
The head of DCNS said that his company manufactured the Corvette in record time to meet the deadlines set by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi. According to the head of Naval Group, El-Sisi wanted the Egyptian navy to have the latest technologies as quickly as possible. DCNS’s head added that they worked speedily on the Corvette as “their duty towards an ally.”
A number of Egyptian naval personnel have received training, both in France and Egypt, on the operation and maintenance of the Corvette.
The Gowind 2500 Corvette
The multi-mission corvette is designed to execute all naval combat duties, such as surveillance, surface, and subsurface combat (destroying submarines), protection and to escort naval missions, launching rockets, and guarding and protecting ground forces on coastlines.
Gowind 2500 Corvette is 102 meters in length and 16 meters in width. Its speed is 25 knots with a range of 3,700 nautical miles at 15 knots. It can carry air-defense and anti-ship missiles and torpedoes.
Egypt has one of the biggest naval forces in the Middle East and the current arm deals will help Egypt to upgrade and modernize its military capabilities.
Egypt is France’s number one weapons customer. Egypt ordered roughly $8 billion worth of French weapons and services. During a visit by President Hollande in 2016, Egypt signed €1 billion worth of deals with France to purchase warships and a military satellite.
Throughout most of its history, Egypt was a regional power, and President El-Sisi wants to return Egypt to a leading position. This is manifested in his investments in the Armed Forces and mega-projects like the new Suez Canal, Dabaa nuclear plant, and the new capital.
As a leading regional power, Egypt is building its military capabilities as a response to the other regional military powers like Israel, Iran, and Turkey and not just as a direct response to the current threats to the national security of Egypt.