Egypt orders Gowind corvettes


The Egyptian Navy has ordered four Gowind corvettes from DCNS, becoming the second export customer for the type.

According to French newspaper La Tribune, Egypt has signed a 1 billion euro contract, excluding weapons, for the four corvettes. The contract covers two orders plus two options, of which one would be built in France and the other three in Egypt. DCNS has not confirmed or denied the deal.

Egypt earlier this year expressed interest in the vessels. Apparently DCNS beat competition from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Meko A200) and the Damen Schelde group (Sigma).

The Gowind design selected by Egypt is the 2 400 tonne variant, fitted with DCNS’ SETIS combat management system. The vessels could be equipped with VL-MICA surface-to-air missiles and Exocet MM40 surface-to-surface missiles. La Tribune said the missiles could add another 300-400 million to the price tag.

According to La Tribune, Egyptian leader Abdel Faatah Al-Sisi made the decision to procure the corvettes.

The Egyptian order is the Gowind’s second export contract after Malaysia recently ordered six of the vessels, for delivery in 2017. DCNS is offering the Gowind to Uruguay, which is interested in three new vessels.

The Gowind vessels are 100 metres long and displace 2 400 tons. They can each carry one medium helicopter (such as the Eurocopter EC 725 Cougar) and will be fitted with a 57 mm gun, VL-MICA surface-to-air missiles, Exocet anti-ship missiles and torpedo launchers.

The Gowind class is built under a DCNS-funded programme. The first ship, L’Adroit, was made available to the French Navy in October 2011 as part of DCNS’s ambition to win a larger share of the markets for small- and medium-displacement surface ships.

Innovations and capabilities of special interest to ship-based naval, commando and coast guard forces include a panoramic bridge offering 360° visibility, a single enclosed mast offering 360° sensor visibility, covert deployment of fast commando boats in less than five minutes and full provision for unmanned aerial and surface vehicles (UAVs and USVs).

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. As a result it has been expanding its navy in recent years. Egypt is currently receiving four Ambassador III class fast missile craft from VT Halter in the United States. They come equipped with Harpoon Block II missiles, plus short-range RAM missiles for air defence.