Fincantieri signs ten-year maintenance contract for Egyptian FREMM frigates

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Italy’s Fincantieri has signed a €260 million contract with Egypt for the maintenance of two FREMM frigates over a ten year period.

The company made the announcement on 22 November, stating the total value of the contract includes the portion that will be allocated to Orizzonte Sistemi Navali (OSN) – the joint venture owned by Fincantieri and Leonardo with stakes of 51% and 49%, respectively – as a sub-supplier.

Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Fincantieri, said, “This contract confirms Fincantieri’s strategy of creating long-term strategic partnerships involving multi-year delivery of technology services with key customers”.

The Egyptian Navy received two ex-Italian Navy FREMM frigates, ENS Bernees (ex-Emilio Bianchi) and ENS Al Galala (ex-Spartaco Schergat) in April 2021 and December 2020 respectively.

It was reported in early 2020 that Egypt was interested in buying two FREMM frigates from Italy, drawn from the Italian Navy’s procurement programme – the vessels Spartaco Schergat and Emilio Bianchi, launched in January 2019 and January 2020, respectively – enabling Fincantieri to sell the vessels for an estimated cost of €1.2 billion.

The ex-Italian frigates are in ‘general purpose’ configuration and armed with a Leonardo 127/64 mm LightWeight (LW) mm gun, a 76/62 mm Super Rapido gun and two 25 mm guns as well as the MBDA SAAM-ESD (Surface Anti-Air Missile – Extended Self-Defence) Air Defence Missile system able to launch the Aster family of surface-to-air missiles. Some sensitive equipment particular to the Italian Navy, including electronic warfare systems, have apparently been removed and replaced with equipment sourced elsewhere.

The Italian Navy’s Carlo Bergamini-class FREMM frigates have a full load displacement of about 6 500 tons, an overall length of about 144 meters and can reach a top speed of 27 knots with a maximum cruising range of 6 800 nautical miles at 15 knots.

Egypt previously received the French FREMM frigate Normandie (Tahya Misr) from France in 2015, optimised for anti-submarine warfare.