The Egyptian Navy’s new FREMM frigate Tahya Misr has departed DCNS’ shipyard in Brest, France, for Alexandria in Egypt, where it will arrive on 2 August.
The vessel left France yesterday. It was originally handed over to the Egyptian Navy on 23 June and the following day sailed with Egyptian crew for training and sea trials. Training was carried out off the coast of Lorient, where the vessel was built, before sailing for Brest. A firing campaign using the ship’s 20 mm and 76 mm weapons was carried out off the coast of Brittany, reports Mer et Marine.
In addition to some hundred sailors on board, several dozen DCNS and Défense Conseil International (DCI) instructors are providing training at sea.
From March 2015, DCNS has been training the Egyptian crew. In order to operate such a highly-automated ship safely, DCNS and its partners accompany the crew for a period of 15 months, the company said. The programme is composed of several phases: theoretical modules, on-land training using platforms and simulators and then onboard training both at the quayside and at sea.
Tahya Misr will arrive in Egypt in time to mark the inauguration of the expansion of the Suez Canal on 6 August. The event will also see three Dassault Rafales fly over. These, the first of 24, arrived in Egypt in 21 July.
Tahya Misr was originally destined for the French Navy as the Normandie, but following Egypt’s urgent order for the vessel in February this year it was instead transferred to Egypt.
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. Egypt is believed to be seeking an NH90 maritime helicopter for the frigate.
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.
Egypt has also ordered four Gowind 2500 corvettes from DCNS, with metal being cut for the first vessel on 16 April with delivery scheduled for September 2017. The remaining three corvettes will be built from next year by Alexandria Shipyards in Egypt and will be delivered between September 2018 and July 2019, reports Security and Defence Arabia.
The publication notes that the four Gowinds will be armed with an Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid Multi Feeding gun; two Reutech 20 mm Super Rogue turrets; eight MBDA MM 40 Block 3 Exocet anti-ship missiles; 16 MBDA VL MICA missiles and four DCNS MU90 torpedoes.
Other upcoming additions to the Egyptian Navy fleet include six 35 metre Swiftship patrol boats, ordered in November 2014. The vessels have a range of 1 000 nautical miles, a normal speed of 30 knots and a complement of 12. They are powered by three engines rated at 2 450 hp. Armament options include a 30 mm MSI Defense Systems or Oto Melara gun, two .50 calibre machineguns and two 7.62 mm machineguns.
Swiftships plans to start the 35 m Patrol Boat construction programme late this year, according to Security and Defence Asia.
Between 2010 and 2014 Swiftships designed and built four 28 metre patrol craft for the Egyptian Navy, with two assembled in Egypt and the other two co-produced by Egypt and Swiftships. Egypt’s Coast Guard operates a smaller coastal patrol type, the 26 metre Swift Protector.
On 17 June the final two of four 63 metre Ambassador IV class vessels arrived in Egypt, with the first two being sent to Egypt in May 2014. Each of the 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.