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Egyptian Navy to buy two Italian European Multi-Purpose Frigates

On February 4, 2020, French newspaper La Tribune reported that Egypt is on the verge to sign a deal with Fincantieri to purchase a pair of European Multi-Purpose Frigate (FREMM) warships from the Italian shipbuilder.

Fincantieri Launched the Italian Navys Tenth and Final FREMM Frigate The Italian Navy's tenth and final FREMM Frigate: “Emilio Bianchi” (Picture source: Fincantieri)

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.

Of the two frigates in question, the Emilio Bianchi was launched in January and was due for delivery to the Italian navy in 2021, while the Spartaco Schergat is due for delivery in a few months.

The "Emilio Bianchi" vessel, like the other units, features a high degree of flexibility, capable of operating in all tactical situations. 144 metres long with a beam of 19.7 metres, the ship has a displacement at a full load of approximately 6,700 tonnes. The vessel has a maximum speed of over 27 knots and has a maximum accommodation capacity for a 200-person crew.

Spartaco Schergat is a general purpose-configured variant with a full-load displacement of 6,900 tons and 144 meters in length. It carries an OTO Melara gun, a 16-cell vertical launch system launching Aster 15 and Aster 30 missiles, an MU90 lightweight torpedo launching system (Torpedo Launching System) and the Teseo MK2/A anti-ship system, based on the Teseo missile. The ship also has a flight deck for embarking two helicopters.

If they are sold to Egypt, the Italian navy may decide to order its replacement ships with anti-submarine warfare capabilities, an upgrade reflecting heightened tensions in the Mediterranean.

In addition to the frigates, Egypt is waiting for four other frigates and 20 Falaj II patrol boats.