Germany approves Meko frigate sale to Egypt

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The German parliament has approved the sale of six Meko A200 frigates to Egypt, providing guarantees of up to 2.3 billion euros for the transaction.

The Bild newspaper on 3 April reported that the Budestag’s Budget Committee gave its approval for an export credit guarantee for the six vessels, making it highly likely that the deal will go ahead.

France’s La Tribune in November 2018 reported that a contract between Egypt and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) was signed in mid-September and was initially for two Meko corvettes, but was later expanded to cover three manufactured in Germany and one manufactured in Egypt.

However, that same month the deal was apparently scuppered as Saudi Arabia was financing the majority of the contract. In late October 2018, Germany halted the approval of future arms deals to Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.

Egypt was looking at acquiring additional Gowind corvettes from France’s Naval Group but discussions broke down over cost concerns. In 2014 Egypt ordered four Gowind 2500 corvettes for around 1 billion euros, with one, El Fateh (971) built in Lorient and the other three being built in Egypt. El Fateh was delivered to Egypt in October 2017. The contract made provision for an option for two more.

France’s La Tribune notes that in January, the German Federal Security Council approved production of a single Meko A200 for Egypt worth 500 million euros. Although financing has been approved, the German government still has to authorise the production of the five other Meko A200s, with exports being evaluated on a case-by-case basis.