On May 26th, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems handed over a frigate to the Navy of the Arab Republic of Egypt. It is the second in a series of four MEKO® A-200 EN frigates.
The ceremony in Bremerhaven, which was attended by high-ranking Egyptian and German Navy officials, also included the naming of the vessel. The Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Navy, Vice Admiral Ashraf Ibrahim Atwa, named the ship “AL-QAHHAR”, meaning “The Irresistible Subduer”.
“This project is considered a role model for many countries in the field of joint military industrialization,” stated Vice Admiral Atwa. “Today, with the delivery of the ‘AL-QAHHAR’ frigate, our project has reached its midway.”
“With today’s handover ceremony, we add a further highlight to the excellent relationship between the Egyptian Navy and Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems,” said Paul Glaser, CFO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. “The ongoing cooperation on naval surface vessels and submarines is one of the cornerstones of the long-term partnership between our two countries. The first-of-class ship ‘AL-AZIZ’ is already in service and has since proven its technical capabilities and reliability, and its sister ship ‘AL-QAHHAR’ will be just as successful.”
The first ship Al-Aziz began sea trials in April last year and was subsequently handed over to the Egyptian Navy in October, while on November 10, 2022, the second MEKO A-200 class frigate ENS Al-Qahhar started its sea trials.
In its class, the MEKO® A-200 EN is one of the most powerful warships in service today. The next-generation vessels are more than 121 metres long, 16 metres wide and have a maximum speed of more than 29 knots. Featuring a stealthy design, the frigates are dedicated to taking on the role of the new central combat platform of the Egyptian Navy. Each ship will possess an extensive range of both defensive and offensive capabilities.
In total, the Arab Republic of Egypt ordered four structurally identical vessels, with the first three units being produced in Germany and the fourth vessel being built by Alexandria Shipyard in Egypt. The building contract was signed in September 2018. Construction work on “AL-QAHHAR” started in December 2019, with keel laying in March 2020 and launching in August 2021. She will start the journey to her homeport in Alexandria in a few days. The next milestone in this project will be the handover of the third vessel of the series, “ALQADEER”, later this year.
“AL-AZIZ” (904) is the first of four MEKO A-200 EN frigates for the Egyptian Navy. ENS Al-Aziz was built by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), Blohm+Voss and HDW in a deal worth EUR2 billion (USD2.3 billion) for four A-200s, one of which will be built in Egypt. Egypt ordered four MEKO A-200 vessels under a September 2018 contract worth €2.3 billion (US$2.5 billion), approved by the German government in April 2019.
The class will be heavily armed with a Leonardo 127/64 LW 127 mm main gun (possibly with VULCANO ammunition), 16x MM-40 Exocet block 3 anti-ship missiles, 32x VLS for MBDA VL MICA NG surface-to-air missiles (the ship is the first platform and customer for this new missile).
The MEKO® A-200 Frigate has greatly reduced radar, IR, acoustic and magnetic signatures to hide and stay hidden: The X-Form® shell design; extensive bulwark screening of exposed equipment; flush-closing shell doors, and RCSnet screening of all shell openings, give the vessel very low radar cross section.
The four MEKO A-200 frigates are being procured to replace the ageing US Oliver Hazard Perry-class vessels that comprise the bulk of the Egyptian Navy’s escort fleet.
Budestag’s Budget Committee gave its approval for an export credit guarantee for the six vessels, in 2019, the export credit provides guarantees of up to 2.3 billion euros (US$2.5 billion) for the transaction.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government approved the delivery of three Meko frigates and 16 air defence systems from Diehl Defence before leaving office in late 2021.
Equipped with the latest generation of Thales NS-110 4D AESA air and surface surveillance radar which is an advanced and upgraded version of the original NS-100 3D radar, decoys launchers for C310 high-performance anti-torpedo counter-measures system, 2× 32 Tube laser-decoys launchers for Rheinmetall Multi Ammunition Softkill System EM/IR (MASS), Thales SCORPION Electronic Warfare Support Measures System (ECM), SATCOM System.
The first three units are being built by TKMS in Germany with the rest constructed at Alexandria Shipyards in Egypt.