The commander-in-chief of the Egyptian navy, Vice-Admiral Ahmed Khaled, raised the Egyptian flag on Friday aboard a French-made GOWIND corvette in France’s Lorient ahead of the vessel making its way to Egypt and joining its naval forces.
The corvette, manufactured by French company Naval Group, is part of a deal to manufacture four corvettes for the Egyptian naval forces, one in France and three in Egypt. The three remaining will be manufactured by Alexandria’s Al-Tersana Company, using Egyptian experts and professionals, as per the navy’s deal with Naval Group.
The ship, named Al-Fateh, can reach a speed of 25 knots, has a length of 103 metres, and can execute all naval combat duties, such as destroying submarines, launching rockets, and guarding and protecting ground forces on coastlines.
Vice-Admiral Khaled said the vessel “will enable the Egyptian naval forces to execute its effective role in the region.”
A number of Egyptian naval personnel have received training, both in France and Egypt, on the operation and maintenance of the corvette.
During his speech on Friday, Khaled said, “We witness today a historic moment in the history of our naval force, and a new episode in developing it, both in quantity and quality, so that it will be among the ranks of the top naval forces in the world."
He added that the corvette would help “better achieve Egypt’s total control of its coasts as well as its regional and commercial waters.”
Khaled described the GOWIND corvette as one of the most advanced in the world and the first of its kind in Egypt, as well as the Middle East region.
He added that Egypt’s navy has spared no efforts in advancing its combat capabilities over the past four decades, thereby obtaining some of the most advanced weaponry available.
This includes the multi-purpose frigate Tahya Misr and the Mistral helicopter carriers, along with advanced submarines and rocket launchers, he said.
The scientific and practical advances in the Egyptian navy’s expertise have led to a number of countries requesting joint military exercises and cooperation, Khaled added.
The commander-in-chief revealed that such advances have extended to “technology transfer” and that a GOWIND corvette is currently being manufactured by Alexandria’s Al-Tersana Company, using Egyptian labour.
He added that security threats are no longer constrained to military threats, but also currently include threats by terrorists and organized-crime groups.
"Egypt and France both agree that terrorism constitutes a genuine threat to all states, and not just some states,” he said.
Meanwhile, the head of the Naval Group Company expressed his joy at delivering the first of four corvettes to Egypt, adding that such a ceremony “bolsters ties between the states of Egypt and France and between their navies.”
He also praised what he described as the “strategic partnership” between Egypt and his company, adding that his company manufactured the corvette in record time to meet the deadlines set by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.
El-Sisi, according to the head of Naval Group, wanted the Egyptian navy to have the latest technologies as quickly as possible.
Naval Group’s head added that they worked speedily on the corvette as “their duty towards an ally.”
Depicting its technical characteristics, Guillou said that the GOWIND is “bristling with the latest technological advances, which guarantee Egyptian sovereignty.”
“The GOWIND corvette is the latest generation of vessels and incorporates panoramic sensors, a high combat system, as well as an operational centre with associated technical rooms," Guillou said.