Egypt receives its first FREMM frigate

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Frédéric Lert, Lorient - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
24 June 2015


Egypt's Tahya Misr, handed over on 24 June, is due to reach its full operational capacity in October 2016. Source: F Lert

French naval shipbuilder DCNS transferred the FREMM frigate Tahya Misr (FFG-1001, ex- Normandie [D651]) to the Egyptian Navy on 24 June; a delivery that marks a major milestone towards a strategic partnership between France and Egypt.

The flag ceremony took place at the company's shipyard in Lorient, Britanny, in the presence of French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, his Egyptian counterpart General Sedki Sobhy, the two navies' chiefs of staff (Admiral Osama Rabie for Egypt and Admiral Bernard Rogel for France), and Hervé Guillou, chairman and CEO of DCNS.

During his speech Le Drian indicated the delivery was the first major milestone towards a strategic partnership between France and Egypt and better interoperability between the two naval forces. "A high-ranking French naval officer will be posted to the Egyptian Navy headquarters in Alexandria to ensure optimal use of the frigate and positive customer [feedback]," said the French minister. France's Direction Générale pour l'Armement (DGA) defence procurement agency will also post an attaché at the French embassy in Cairo to support Egypt and facilitate military-related exchanges.

DCNS not only sold a ship but also a five-year through-life support contract, which includes on-the-job training and technical support. "A third of DCNS's activities currently involve the provision of support and services and we want to increase this business," Nathalie Smirnov, head of support and services with DCNS, told IHS Jane's . More than 3,900 people are working in this division and a task force of 40 technicians and engineers are currently seconded to the Royal Moroccan Navy to assist with the first maintenance period of FREMM vessel Mohammad VI . Over the five years of its support deal Tahya Misr will undergo nine short maintenance periods (of six weeks each, the first one being already set for end of this year) and a three-month-long overhaul. DCNS has a permanent force of five technicians in Alexandria, which will be augmented by 40 other specialists during the maintenance periods.

The operational training will be conducted by DCI-NAVFCO. The day after the flag ceremony, Tahya Misr sailed out to sea for a two-day training session with DCI's instructors. Two other sessions will take place within the next three weeks, each time with two to four days at sea. The ship is expected to sail to Brest after 14 July (Bastille Day) to load ammunition. Before the ship sails back to Egypt, it will take part in a short firing exercise, where 20 or so 76 mm shells will be fired at surface targets. When Tahya Misr sails home in the second half of July, a nine-day transit at an average speed of 15-16 kt, the Egyptian crew will be fully capable of manoeuvring the ship and defending it against low-level threats.

The second part of the operational training will take place between August and October next year, after which Tahya Misr and its crew should reach full operational capacity.
Egypt receives its first FREMM frigate - IHS Jane's 360