Egypt received a FREMM (European multipurpose frigate) at the port of Lorient in west France on Tuesday, as part of a military deal it had signed with France in February to upgrade its military force in the face of ongoing regional crises.
French Defence MinisterJean-Yves le Drian said the delivery is the “first step” in creating a “unique relationship” between the two states, adding that Paris acknowledges Egypt’s central role in ensuring security in the region.
Egypt’s Defence Minister and Army Commander Sedki Sobhi had left for France on Monday to meet with French military officials.
The multipurpose frigate weighs almost 2,000 tonnes and is 142 metres in length.
In February, Egypt and France had signed a deal whereby Cairo purchased 24 French Rafale jet fighters, the naval frigate and related military equipment. The deal in total is worth more than 5 billion euros ($5.70 billion). The contract made Egypt the first export customer for the warplane, built by Dassault Aviation.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Cairo announced on Monday that it had delivered two fast missile naval vessels to the Egyptian navy, according to a statement by the US embassy in Cairo.
“This delivery effectively doubles Egypt's total fleet of fast missile craft from two to four," said the statement, describing the vessels as a $1.1 billion "investment" by the US in "the bilateral strategic partnership” between both countries.
The statement said delivery “supports maritime and regional security, which includes protecting vital waterways such as the Suez Canal and the Red Sea”.
Egypt’s navy is currently taking part in a Saudi-led Arab operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
Egyptian forces are focused on securing the Red Sea, to the south of Egypt's Suez Canal.