Gowind Combat Corvette
Egypt became the second customer for the new Gowind Combat Corvette. In 2014 French shipbuilder Naval Group, then known as DCNS, signed a contract estimated at one billion euros to supply four Gowind-class Corvettes to Egyptian forces, a deal that aroused interest in Gulf states. The naval group sold four 2,400 ton corvettes to Cairo, equipped with its combat system Setis, for an amount of EUR 1 billion. The first French-built ship was due to be launched in 2017, while the Egyptian shipyard was undergoing upgrades since July 2014 to get ready for the next 3 ships and possible 2 options.
The sale came as a surprise to much of the defense community. Amnesty International has called on France not to sell weapons to Egypt because of rights concerns following Sisi’s toppling of the elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.
In 2014 French shipbuilder DCNS signed a contract estimated at one billion euros to supply four Gowind-class Corvettes to Egyptian forces, a deal that aroused interest in Gulf states. French DCNS won the bid to provide the corvettes to the Egyptian navy against the Meko A200 offered by competing German shipyards ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and the Dutch Damen Group’s corvette Sigma.
The first French-built ship was due to be launched in 2017, while the Egyptian shipyard was undergoing upgrades since July 2014 to get ready for the next 3 ships and possible 2 options. Amnesty International has called on France not to sell weapons to Egypt because of rights concerns following Sisi’s toppling of the elected Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.
The naval group returned to the negotiating table at the end of Eid, hoping to conclude by the end a second order for two new corvettes, in competition with the Dutch Damen. An order of about 500 million euros was budgeted by Cairo.
On 16 April 2015 DCNS started cutting metal for the very first GOWIND® 2500 corvette under construction in Lorient, in the presence of high representatives of the Egyptian Navy. This vessel is the first of a series of four units that was to be delivered to Egypt before 2019. The cutting of the first metal sheets for the first GOWIND® 2500 corvette built in Lorient symbolises the launch of the ambitious industrial program conducted by DCNS for the Egyptian Navy. It includes the construction of four latest-generation corvettes, both in France and Egypt. The delivery of the first vessel was slated for 2017, i.e., less than four years after the signature of the contract.
Separately, MBDA negotiated a contract to equip the ships with MICA Vertical Launch air-defense missiles and MM40 Block 3 Exocet anti-ship missiles, together worth an additional 400 million euros, while Naval Group negotiated a 100-200 million euro contract for torpedoes. Three of the corvettes are to be built locally by Alexandria Shipyard within a technology transfer agreement.
The first Egyptian GOWIND® 2500 corvette was built on the DCNS site in Lorient, one of the most modern naval shipyards in Europe. The three following units will be built in Alexandria within the frame of a construction technology transfer agreement. “This industrial milestone is the concrete output of preliminary work to adapt the vessel to the specific needs of the Egyptian Navy, conducted over the last nine months by the DCNS teams. Today, we have started the construction of the very first GOWIND® 2500 corvette, the reference product on the corvette market. We are proud to produce this latest-generation vessel for the Egyptian Navy", declared Bruno Chapeland, director of the Egypt GOWIND® program at DCNS.
By May 2016 negotiations were still in progress between the Egyptian Defence Ministry and DCNS, the French company that produces the Mistral, over the manufacture of four warships. Egypt decided to postpone the purchase as Russia and South Korea had made less-costly offers. The European offers were better than the Asian ones when post-sale services such as upkeep, maintenance and spare parts were taken into account.
Egypt’s first locally produced Gowind corvette, ENS Port Said, was launched during a ceremony in Alexandria on 6 September 2018 while the second locally built vessel, Al-Moez, was launched on 12 May 2019. The third frigate built in Egypt by the Alexandria Shipyard Company, ENS Luxor (986), was launched on 14 May 2020. Lieutenant General Khaled Khaled, Commander of the Naval Forces, attend the inauguration ceremony. The governor of Alexandria attended a ceremony and a high-level French delegation headed by the French ambassador to Egypt and as well as executives, workers and engineers of Alexandria Shipyard Company for Marine Industries.
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