The Chief-of-Staff of Egypt’s Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Mohamed Farid inaugurated the country’s newest Gowind-class Corvette in Alexandria on May 12, 2019. The new warship, named Al-Moez, was built locally by Egypt’s Alexandria Shipyard Company in cooperation with France.
The project was part of a 1 billion euro deal signed with France in 2014 to provide four frigates to the Egyptian navy. Under the agreement, three corvettes would be built in Egypt under a transfer of technology agreement.
A number of Egyptian naval personnel have received training, both in France and Egypt, on the operation and maintenance of the Corvette.
The inauguration was attended by the Commander of the Egyptian Navy Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled, the chairman of Alexandria Shipyard, a number of top-ranking army and navy officers, and the general consul of France in Alexandria Janina Herrera.
During the event, Herrera praised the level of cooperation between Egypt and France as well as the technical efficiency displayed by the Egyptian engineers and workers at Alexandria Shipyard.
Vice Admiral Khaled said during the event that the officers, soldiers, and arsenal of Egypt’s Navy help protect the country’s borders and territorial waters against foreign and domestic threats.
In 2014, Egypt has contracted with the French company DCNS to buy four Corvettes, three of which were to be constructed in Alexandria Shipyard. The contract between the Egyptian Navy and DCNS includes an option for two more ships.
On April 16, 2015, DCNS announced it has started to construct the first Gowind 2500 Corvette for Egypt in the naval shipyard of Lorient. The ship, named Al-Fateh, started its sea trials on March 13, 2017.
In September 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 the 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.”
Egypt received the first Corvette in September 2017. The second was manufactured in Egypt and inaugurated in September 2018.
The Gowind 2500 Corvette
The 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. The vessel incorporates the SETIS multi-mission combat management system already in use by the FREMM frigates. The ship can carry air-defense and anti-ship missiles and torpedoes. It can execute all naval combat duties, such as destroying submarines, launching rockets, and guarding and protecting ground forces on coastlines.
Egyptian President El-Sisi had three official visits to France, since being sworn into office in 2014. The last visit was in October 2017, meeting his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris. The visit saw the signing of agreements worth 440 million euros to finance several development projects in Egypt.
Egypt is France’s number one weapons customer with roughly US$8 billion worth of French weapons and services. The increasing number of Egypt’s arms deals with France represents a concrete step by Egypt to decrease its reliance on the US and may indicate a change in the regional balance of power.
The Gowind 2500 Corvette is one of the most advanced in the world and the deal includes “technology transfer.” The fourth Gowind Corvette is currently being manufactured by Alexandria’s Al-Tersana Company, with technical assistance from DCNS, using Egyptian labor.
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.
[Source: Ahram Online, Naval Today]