Egyptian Navy accepts first Meko frigate from TKMS

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ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has handed over the first Meko A200EN frigate ordered by Egypt, with three more due to be delivered to the Egyptian Navy.

TKMS said the first of class ENS Al-Aziz (904) was handed over on 14 October during a ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany, with the vessel due to depart for Egypt several days later.

Al-Aziz was accepted by the Egyptian Navy 38 months after the contract became effective in September 2018, after four months of negotiations. Three vessels are being built in Germany, and the fourth at Alexandria Shipyard in Egypt. The contract also covers crew training.

Steel for Al-Aziz was first cut in September 2019 and the vessel launched in April 2021, with sea trials commencing that month.

During the Al-Aziz handover this month, the third Meko frigate was named Al-Qader by the Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Navy, Vice Admiral Ashraf Ibrahim Atwa.

“I am grateful to the friendly Republic of Germany for the constructive relationship which sets the example to be followed by others. Germany always supports Egypt with the up-to-date technology needed to enhance our naval capabilities. We have a longstanding and successful history of cooperation, as reflected in the highly efficient [Type] 209 submarines. Our cooperation was not limited to only building new ships, but was also extended to cover advanced training for our crews to absorb the new advanced technology,” Atwa said.

TKMS laid the second vessel, Al-Qahhar, down in 2020, with launch in August 2021 – the vessel is currently undergoing sea trials. Al-Qader was laid down in 2021 and launched in April this year, while Alexandria Shipyard laid the fourth vessel down in March. It is expected to be handed over to the Egyptian Navy in 2024.

Each of Egypt’s new Meko frigates is 121 metres long and displaces 3 700 tons, with a top speed of 29 knots.

ENS Al-Aziz is armed with eight MM40 Block 3 Exocet and 32 VL MICA NG missiles plus a Vulcano 127 mm main gun and four 20 mm cannon, as well as MU90 lightweight and DM-2A4 (SeaHake Mod 4) heavyweight torpedoes.

Equipment includes Thales Scorpion 2 electronic warfare system and NS-110 4D active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, ALTSSE-H Communication Electronic Support Measures/Communications Intelligence system, and Mirador Mk 2 electro-optical system.

The four Meko frigates will ultimately replace the ageing Oliver Hazard Perry-class vessels that comprise the bulk of the Egyptian Navy’s escort fleet.