Egypt, Italy in Talks on Possible FREMM Buy
(Source: Forecast International; posted February 5, 2020)
By Derek Bisaccio
The Egyptian Navy is said to be close to purchasing a pair of European Multi-Purpose Frigate (FREMM) warships from Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

On February 4, 2020, French newspaper La Tribune reported that Egypt is “very close” to signing a deal with Fincantieri for the procurement of the two FREMM frigates. According to the report, these frigates may be drawn from the Italian Navy’s procurement program – the vessels Spartaco Schergat and Emilio Bianchi, launched in January 2019 and January 2020, respectively – enabling Fincantieri to sell the vessels for an estimated cost of €1.2 billion.

To support the purchase, Italian [state] bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) will issue an export financing loan worth up to €500 million.

Earlier in the week, Italian media had reported that the two sides were in discussion on a possible FREMM agreement. Il Sole 24 ORE Radiocor also reported that CDP would provide export financing.

Egypt’s interest in the FREMM frigates – as well as its decision last year to procure up to six warships from Germany, at least three of which are Meko frigates – comes as Cairo’s relationship with France has cooled. La Tribune reported that French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to press his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, on human rights during the former’s visit to Egypt in January of last year likely played a role in Egypt’s shifting gears on military procurement towards other European suppliers.

The Egyptian military procured a range of equipment from France after 2015, including Rafale fighter jets, Mistral helicopter carriers, a FREMM frigate, and Gowind corvettes. Follow-on agreements for a dozen Rafales and two Gowind corvettes had been expected but now appear to be frozen, La Tribune reported.


(EDITOR’S NOTE: Contrary to some recent reports, Italy’s rumored sale of two Fremm frigates to Egypt won’t happen unless and until adequate compensation is agreed with Italian Navy, which has ordered ten Fremm frigate because it needs ten Fremm frigates.)


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