Egyptian Meko contract moving ahead


After being blocked by Germany in November 2018, it appears that Egypt’s purchase of a Meko frigate from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) is moving ahead.

According to Spiegel Online, the German Federal Security Council has approved the export of a Meko 200 frigate to the Egyptian Navy at a cost of around half a billion euros. The publication, citing official documents, said Egypt may buy another Meko frigate in addition to the one that has been approved.

France’s La Tribune in November reported that the contract between Egypt and 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, Germany halted the approval of future arms deals to Saudi Arabia after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. German chancellor Angela Merkel in October said that no weapons will be delivered to Saudi Arabia until the circumstances of the Khashoggi affair become clear.

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.