Egypt's defence minister to raise Egyptian flag over Mistral in France

Ahram Online , Wednesday 1 Jun 2016

Egypt's defence minister Sedki Sobhi leaves to France with military delegation (Photo Courtesy of Egypt's Army Spokesman Page on Facebook)

Egyptian defence minister Sedki Sobhi flew to France on Wednesday to raise the Egyptian flag above Egypt's first Mistral-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) on Thursday, Egypt's army spokesperson said in an official statement.

According to the army spokesman, the French-made Mistral, which is set to be named after the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, will be the first helicopter carrier to join the Egyptian fleet.

The spokesman described the step as "a new addition to the weapon system's armament of the Egyptian armed forces [that will] bolster its abilities to face challenges and hostilities."

Sobhi, who is accompanied by a military delegation, is set to attend on Thursday a celebration with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to mark the delivery of the Mistral to Cairo.

During the event, the Egyptian flag will be raised on the carrier before it sails Toulouse to Egypt.

Earlier this month, 170 Egyptian crewmen participated in a week-long training on board the carrier to prepare for taking over its helm.

According to AFP, another Mistral helicopter carrier, named after the late Egyptian President Anwar El-Sadat, will be delivered in September.

The contract for the two Mistral carriers, which was finalised in September last year, was valued at 950 million Euros.

France now tops the list of countries which signed military supply agreements with Egypt during the two-year tenure of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

Earlier in May, Cairo finalised the purchase of a military reconnaissance and monitoring satellite from France.

Last year, Egypt successfully concluded ‎a purchase of 24 Rafale fighter planes, seven of which were recentlt delivered to Cairo.

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