The Egyptian Navy will soon receive a naval vessel from South Korea, possible a Po Hang class corvette.
This is according to the Egyptian Ministry of Defence (MoD), which said on 15 September that Egyptian Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi, during a visit to South Korea earlier this month had inspected “one of the naval pieces that will be joining the Egyptian Armed Forces in the future and met the Egyptian technical crews that are training on it”.
While the MoD did not specify what vessel would be delivered, photos it released show Sobhi standing on a Po Hang-class corvette at Jinhae Naval Base. IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes that the Republic of Korea Navy received 24 Po Hang-class corvettes and these entered service between 1984 and 1993. Around 18 remain in service. They will be replaced by the Incheon class frigate – it has also been suggested that Egypt may be getting Incheon vessels.
Sobhi’s visit was at the invitation of South Korea and according to the Egyptian MoD conducted “several fruitful talks on military cooperation between the armed forces of both countries, including the Korean Defence Minister and a number of officials from the Korean armed forces.” The two sides also looked at challenges in the region and efforts to combat terrorism and achieve security and stability in the Middle East.
During the visit, Sobhi conducted a series of field tours, including to a number of training facilities and military industries, including to a shipyard and naval base, during which he held a meeting with the commander of the South Korean navy.
Sobhi met South Korean defence minister Song Young-moo in Seoul on 11 September and said that Egypt had expressed interest in procuring South Korean military equipment and entering defence industrial joint-venture programmes. “We hope that Korea’s excellent defence products will contribute to the strengthening of the defence forces of Egypt,” Sobhi said.
Meanwhile, Egypt has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring K9 155 mm self-propelled howitzer’s from South Korea’s Samsung Techwin, which is optimistic about securing a contract. Egypt has been eyeing the K9 since 2010 when a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation was signed between the two countries. Egypt has for years expressed interest in acquiring new self-propelled howitzers, most likely to replace its M109s.
South Korea-Egypt defence ties received a boost this year when In-moo signed a memorandum of understanding with Sobhi in Cairo in late March. On 10 July a photo appeared on Twitter showing a K9 on a flatbed trailer apparently moving through Egypt for evaluation.
Earlier, Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi paid a visit to South Korea in March 2016 in order to promote economic cooperation between Korea and Egypt.