US delivers Fast Missile Craft to Egyptian Navy

The United States delivered two more Fast Missile naval vessels to the port of Alexandria “in support of Egypt’s security and the Egyptian people”, the American embassy in Cairo announced Monday.

The two Fast Missile Craft, built in Pascagoula, Mississippi, arrived in Alexandria on board a U.S. transport ship, and will be integrated into the Egyptian Naval fleet in the coming weeks.  This delivery effectively doubles Egypt’s total fleet of Fast Missile Craft from two to four.

The two Fast Missile Craft reached the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on June 17, a US embassy statement said.

Ties with the United States plummeted after Egypt’s army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, with Washington freezing its annual $1.3 billion in military aid.

At the end of March Washington unfroze its military assistance but continued to denounce rights violations in Egypt and the repression of Islamists.

“The Fast Missile Craft directly supports maritime and regional security, which includes protecting vital waterways such as the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.” U.S. Embassy Senior Defense Official in Cairo Major General Charles Hooper, noted,

“This delivery is a sign of America’s ongoing commitment to Egypt and to our shared security interests in Egypt and the region.”

The four ships, worth $1.1 billion, will contribute significantly towards “ensuring regional security, countering terrorism, and protecting global commerce”, the statement added.

The Fast Missile Craft is designed to counter Egypt’s current maritime surface threats and provide freedom of navigation.  They will also help protect civilian and commercial vessels entering Egypt’s territorial waters through coastal patrol surveillance and maritime searches.

The Fast Missile Craft project began in 2005, when plans were initiated by the U.S. Department of Defense to help produce a naval vessel especially for the Government of Egypt. Having received training on the Fast Missile Craft in Pensacola, Florida, Egyptian Navy personnel are now conducting all required inspections and will activate the vessels in Alexandria shortly.  Culminating 10 years of close coordination between the Egyptian and American Navies, the Fast Missile Craft is first in its class and provides both high speed and high maneuverability.