Egypt will soon receive the first two of four Ambassador IV fast missile craft from the United States, which are being prepared for delivery.
The two vessels were loaded onto a civilian transport ship in Pensacola Bay, Florida, on May 25, according to the Pensacola News Journal. The fast missile craft involved are the first of class S Ezzat and F Zekry.
S Ezzat was on November 19, 2013, transferred to the Egyptian Navy at a ceremony in Pensacola, Florida, where the US has an international student programme, reports Defense News. The vessel, launched in October 2011, is named after Admiral Solilman Ezzat who was Commander in Chie of the Egyptian Navy from 1953 to 1967.
Rear Admiral Mohamed Abd El Aziz of the Egyptian Navy said during the S Ezzat’s naming ceremony in 2011 that the vessels would be used for maritime security, particularly combating the problems of illegal immigration and smuggling. They are ideally suited for protecting the Suez Canal region. 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.
F Zekry was handed over to the Egyptian Navy in December, according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly. The remaining two craft, the M Fahmy and A Gad, are due for delivery later this year.
Each of the 62 metre, 700 ton craft carry an OTO Melara 76 mm super rapid gun, eight Harpoon block II missiles, Mk 49 Rolling Airframe Missiles, Block 1B Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) and two M60 machineguns.
Powered by three MTU diesels, they have a top speed of 41 knots and with a crew of 38 they can operate at sea for up to eight days.
A construction contract for the four vessels was issued to VT Halther Marine in September 2008 and is worth an estimated $800 million.
The fast missile craft have escaped the freeze of military aid and equipment deliveries to Egypt following the Egyptian military’s overthrow of elected President Mohamed Mursi in July 2013.