Egypt preparing to receive FREMM frigate


In two weeks time the Egyptian Navy will receive a FREMM frigate from France, where Egyptian sailors are currently undergoing training on the vessel.

Egypt ordered the vessel in February this year and plans to take delivery on 23 June, with the frigate arriving in Egypt in time for the celebration marking the expansion of the Suez Canal on 5 August.

Egypt ordered the FREMM frigate and 24 Dassault Rafale fighters from France on 16 February. Due to the urgency of the sale, the French Navy’s frigate Normandie is being transferred to Egypt. In addition to the sale of the frigate, DCNS will provide maintenance and logistics support for a period of five years.

The multirole FREMM frigates have been designed for several roles, including anti-air, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare. They feature Herakles multifunction radar, Aster surface-to-air missiles, MdCN cruise missiles, Exocet MM40 anti-ship missiles, MU90 torpedoes and an Otobreda 76 mm gun. Each vessel is 142 metres long, has a beam of 20 metres and displaces 6 000 tonnes.

Although there is accommodation for 145 personnel, the standard complement is 108 including the helicopter crew – the frigate has an aft helicopter hangar and deck able to accommodate medium helicopters like the NH90, EH101 and Cougar.

The FREMM’s hybrid CODLOG (COmbined Diesel eLectric Or Gas) power package combines electric motors for low-speed silent-mode propulsion and a gas turbine for high-speed mechanical propulsion, with a maximum speed in excess of 27 knots. This gives a range of 6 000 nm at 15 knots.

Last year Egypt ordered four DCNS Gowind corvettes worth around 1 billion euros from France, with options for two more. Deliveries are scheduled to take place between 2017 and 2019, less than four years after the contract was signed in July 2014. Metal was cut on the first vessel on 15 April. 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.

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.

Meanwhile, France is also gearing up to deliver the first Rafales to Egypt, with three Rafales set to arrive on 25 July, according to daily newspaper Al Akhbar. Egyptian pilots are currently being trained on the aircraft in France. Another three Rafales will be delivered before the end of this year, according to a military source quoted by the paper.

Egypt will receive 16 single-seat Rafales and eight two-seaters. The first three are currently undergoing flight testing at Istres in France. They were originally produced for the French Air Force but are being delivered to Egypt instead, after some French equipment has been removed.