Egypt received the first of four Gowind corvettes on Friday in a ceremony held at the French port of Lorient. The corvette took to the seas on Saturday to sail to its home port in Egypt. The deal between the Egyptian navy and French manufacturer Naval Group includes three more similar vessels.
The deal is part of the armed forces support for “combat and technical capabilities” of naval forces, the Egyptian army official spokesperson announced on Friday, explaining in a statement that the first unit was produced by Naval Group, while the remaining corvettes are under construction at the Alexandria Shipyard Company with French cooperation.
Egypt also said the training of personnel to use the vessel was achieved in “record time”, as the Naval Group said it took 36 months between the sealing of the deal and the first delivery.
Naval Group reported that ten units of the Gowind 2500 corvette were ordered so far, the other six ones by the Malaysian navy.
Meanwhile, Egypt and the US concluded on Wednesday a major drill that started on 10 September. Operation “Bright Star” drills were the first between the two countries after an eight-year suspension. According to Reuters, the exercise that was due to take place every two years was canceled in 2011 during Egypt’s transitional period following the toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak.
Recently, controversy erupted over the US’s possible halt of its military aid to Egypt, while President Donald Trump said Wednesday that they may reconsider the decision. The annual military aid Egypt received was at $1.3 bn.
This also comes as the Egyptian army also held joint exercises with Russia in the southern city of Novorossiysk. According to a media report published by TASS in August, operation “Friendship Defenders” aims at training Russian and Egyptian paratroopers.
On a different note, the army continues to face militant activity in Sinai. On Saturday, the military said it captured three terrorist suspects in Central Sinai, including one described as “extremely dangerous”. They were reportedly found in possession of drugs.
An attack was reportedly foiled on Friday evening in Rafah, as gunmen approached a checkpoint. A local media report said one conscript and three militants were killed in the process. Given the security situation in the city, Major Abdel Fattah Harhour, governor of North Sinai, has decided to delay school openings for two weeks.
On 11 September, a militant attack claimed the lives of at least 18 policemen near Al-Arish city in North Sinai. It was the deadliest since an attack in Rafah in July killing nearly 25 soldiers.