French shipyard DCNS has started cutting metal for the first of four Gowind 2500 corvettes for the Egyptian Navy. Deliveries are scheduled to take place between 2017 and 2019, less than four years after the contract was signed in July 2014.
DCNS said the first metal was cut on April 15 in the presence of representatives of the Egyptian Navy. The first Egyptian Gowind 2500 will be built on the DCNS site in Lorient. The three following units will be built in Alexandria within the frame of a construction technology transfer agreement.
“This industrial milestone is the concrete output of preliminary work to adapt the vessel to the specific needs of the Egyptian Navy, conducted over the last nine months by the DCNS teams. Today, we have started the construction of the very first GOWIND 2500 corvette, the reference product on the corvette market. We are proud to produce this latest-generation vessel for the Egyptian Navy,” said Bruno Chapeland, director of the Egypt Gowind programme at DCNS.
DCNS is simultaneously building five FREMM frigates for the French Navy and the Gowind corvette for the Egyptian Navy. DCNS teams are also preparing the delivery of the FREMM frigate Normandie, to Egypt, which bought the vessel in February this year. Due to the urgency of the sale, it will be transferred from the French Navy to Egypt.
DCNS previously received a contract from the Royal Malaysian Navy, which covers the design and construction of six corvettes in Malaysia at the Boustead Naval Shipyard through technology transfer.
The Gowind 2500 has a total length of 102 metres, a width of 16 metres, displacement of 2600 tonnes and a maximum speed of 25 knots. Range at 15 knots is 3 700 nautical miles. Including a helicopter detachment, crew is 65 persons.
The Gowind design selected by Egypt is fitted with DCNS’ SETIS combat management system. The vessels could be equipped with VL-MICA surface-to-air missiles and Exocet MM40 surface-to-surface missiles. The vssels can each carry one medium helicopter (such as the Eurocopter EC 725 Cougar) and will be fitted with a 57 mm gun and torpedo launchers.
Innovations and capabilities of special interest to ship-based naval, commando and coast guard forces include a panoramic bridge offering 360° visibility, a single enclosed mast offering 360° sensor visibility, covert deployment of fast commando boats in less than five minutes and full provision for unmanned aerial and surface vehicles (UAVs and USVs).
Egypt has over 2 000 km of coastline in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea to protect, and also needs to enforce a blockade of the Gaza strip. As a result it has been expanding its navy in recent years.