Egypt begins local construction of first Gowind corvette


Alexandria Shipyard on 16 April began local construction of the first of three Gowind 2500 corvettes, a year after DCNS cut the first metal for the single Gowind 2500 it is building in France for the Egyptian Navy.

DCNS announced that the first metal was cut at Alexandria Shipyard in a ceremony attended by representatives of the Egyptian Navy and DCNS technical assistance and management teams.

The contract with Egypt, which entered into force in July 2015, provides for the construction of the first ship within 29 months. It is now being built by DCNS in Lorient. The three following units will be built by Egyptian partner Alexandria Shipyard.

DCNS said it has sent supervision and technical assistance teams to Alexandria for the construction of three corvettes through technology transfer. DCNS also provides training of the Egyptian shipyard staff at DCNS site in Lorient. Finally, DCNS will deliver all technical data required for the construction of the corvettes as well as necessary components.

On 16 April 2015, DCNS started cutting metal for the first Egyptian Gowind, which will be delivered in 2017. Major assembly began at the end of September, with the first hull block being put together.

Last month France’s La Tribune reported Egypt was on the verge of buying another two Gowind 2500s and the Gowind class patrol vessel L’Adroit, currently in service with the French Navy. Contracts are expected to be signed during a visit to Egypt by French President Francois Hollande, which began on April 18.

Meanwhile, on 17 April the first of two L-CAT amphibious catamarans ordered from France for the two Mistral class vessels for the Egyptian Navy was transferred from shipbuilder Socarenam to St Nazaire where Egyptian crew will train on it. The second will follow at the end of May, reports Mer et Marine. The L-CATs are aluminium catamarans 30 metres long and 12.6 metres wide and can reach speeds of up to 30 knots. They allow for roll-on, roll-off operations and can carry 80 tons of cargo.

The Egyptian Navy will also receive four new-generation landing craft (CTM NG) for the Mistral ships. These are built by STX France. The CTM NGs are 26.5 metres long and 6.5 metres wide and can carry 65 tonnes of cargo. The steel vessels have a speed of 12 knots. They have front and rear ramps allowing roll-on, roll-off operations.

In June and September the Egyptian Navy will take delivery of its two Mistral class landing helicopter dock (LHD) vessels from DCNS, after Egypt agreed to buy the vessels that were originally destined for Russia.

These will complement three Polnochny class tank landing ships delivered from Russia in the 1970s and three Al Hurreya roll-on, roll-off cargo vessels built in Alexandria between 2005 and 2011.

The Egyptian Navy is in the process of greatly expanding its fleet. Regarding frigates, it received the FREMM vessel Tahya Misr (formerly the French Navy’s Normandie) in June last year. This joined four 3 696 tonne Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates; two 4 328 tonne Knox class frigates and two Jianghu I 103 metre long, 1 702 tonne guided missile frigates delivered from China in the 1980s, and two ex-Spanish 1 479 tonne Descubierta guided missile frigates.

In August last year Russia gave a Tarantul class missile corvette to Egypt, which renamed it Ahmed Fadel.

On the smaller end of the scale, the Egyptian Navy operates four Ambassador Mk IV vessels, delivered between 2013 and 2015, six Ramadan class missile patrol vessels delivered from the United Kingdom in the 1980s, and four German patrol boats. These are complemented by 13 Russian Osa I vessels and six October class vessels.

Other patrol vessels include eight Chinese Hainan class vessels, four Shanghai II vessels, five Shershen torpedo boats and dozens of smaller boats.

On the submarine front, Egypt ordered four Type 209 submarines from Germany’s Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) in 2011 and 2014, with the first being launched at the end of 2015. It should be operational in 2017. The 62 metre long, 1 600 tonne vessels will replace four Romeo class vessels delivered in the 1980s.