Egypt raises flag on its first-ever French Mistral helicopter carrier

Ahram Online , Thursday 2 Jun 2016

The transfer was inaugurated in a celebration at the port of Toulouse in France; Cairo has named the carrier after late president Nasser

Snapshot from State TV shows Egyptian Navy officials raise the Egyptian flag on its first-ever French Mistral helicopter carrier

Egyptian navy officers raised the country's flag Thursday on the first Mistral-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) which Cairo acquired from France in 2015.

Egypt has named the carrier after the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The transfer of the Mistral took place in an inauguration ceremony at the port of Toulouse attended by the Egyptian Minister of Defence Sedki Sobhi and the commander of the French naval forces as well as other top military officials from both countries.

Sobhi had traveled on Wednesday to France to attend the celebration of the carrier's transfer to Cairo in Toulouse.

Sedki was accompanied by a military delegation that included the Head of the Egyptian Naval Forces Osama Rabie.

French and Egyptian military offiicials held a short press conference on Thursday morning before the commencement of the flag-raising ceremony.

French Navy Commander Admiral Bernard Rogel explained during the presser that the Mistral delivered to Egypt is one of the most technologically advanced carrier of its kind manufactured by his country.

"We are extremely happy with our joint Egyptian-French success and we look forward to more cooperation [with Cairo] to combat terrorism," says Rogel.

The Egyptian Navy Commander Osama Rabie said during the presser he was honoured to recieve the first mistral ever to serve in in Egypt and the Middle East.

Rabie said advanced military equipment such as the Mistral are key to defend Egypt given the challenges currently facing the MENA region.

The celebration was attended by tens of Egyptian naval officers who recently received training on the Minstral by French officers.

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 to Cairo 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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