Second France-made helicopter carrier arrives in Egypt’s Alexandria

The second of two Mistral-class Landing Helicopter Doc (LHD) warships bought from France arrived on Thursday in the coast of Alexandria, Egypt’s seaside province, state official news agency MENA reported.

The helicopter carrier, the second of its kind in the Egyptian naval forces, is named after Egypt’s late leader Anwar al-Sadat.

Its arrival coincides with the country’s celebrations of Egypt’s Oct. 6, 1973, victory over Israel, under the leadership of president al-Sadat.

The first vessel, which arrived at the coast of Alexandria in June, was named after Sadat’s predecessor, Gamal Abdel-Nasser.

The Anwar al-Sadat joined the conclusion early Thursday of a joint Egyptian-French naval training that continued for several days ahead of its arrival, MENA said.

The two helicopter carriers were sold to Egypt after France canceled their sale to Russia over the Ukrainian crisis. Each of the sophisticated LHD vessels is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four amphibious landing craft, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 soldiers, according to the report.

Egypt hopes to boost its military capabilities amid the turmoil and conflicts gripping much of the region, especially in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.

Egypt had already received six new Rafale warplanes and a FREMM multi-mission frigate from France as part of a 5.6-billion-dollar deal signed in February 2015.

A total of 24 Rafale fighter jets is included in the deal.

Egypt is the first Middle East country to own a helicopter carrier.

military experts say the the two carriers are expected to add a strategic advantage to Egypt, boosting security in its Mediterranean and Red Sea shores as well as the vital Suez Canal waterway.

Source: Xinhua