by Paolo Valpolini
Fincantieri, the main Italian shipyard, was present in force at EDEX, three models being exhibited in its stand, all related to potential programmes of the Egyptian Navy. However the best testimonial for the company was the Italian Navy Carabiniere FREMM frigate, who made a port call in Alexandria just prior the opening of the first edition of EDEX, allowing the top brass of the Navy to witness in person the ship characteristics.
Currently the Egyptian Navy has in service a single FREMM provided by Naval Group, however Fincantieri consider that the different fitting of the Italian version of the FREMM might attract the interest of the local Navy, at least one couple of ship of that type being considered in the Navy future plans. Although the rapprochement between the French and the Italian shipyard is progressing, and should lead soon to a joint venture that will deal with numerous aspects, from R&D to commercial campaigns, for the time being the two companies remain competitor on numerous markets.
Besides the FREMM, Fincantieri is offering its solutions also for two other bids. One is that for a light frigate/heavy corvette, a bigger ship compared to the Gowind 2500, currently under construction by Alexandria Shipyard as part of a contract with Naval Group. Fincantieri is proposing its 100 meters Multirole Corvette, capable to carry out escort, support, interdiction and patrol operations. The ship is 107 meters long overall, with a 14.7 meters beam, and a full displacement of around 3,100 tons. Its powerplant based on four diesel engines allows her to reach a 28 knots maximum speed, maximum range speed being 15 knots, providing a 3,500 Nautical Miles range; the endurance is 21 days, with a crew of 98 plus 14. The main sensors are the multi-functional radar, installed on top of the mast, and the towed array sonar, EW, IR and other sensors completing the array. As for effectors the Multirole Corvette is capable of carrying two 8-cell vertical launch systems for medium range surface-to-air missiles, one 21 cell short range SAM launcher, four surface-to-surface launchers, one 76/62 mm gun, two 30 mm canons, four anti-air warfare and two antisubmarine warfare decoy launchers. Her flight deck and hangars are designed to host an NH-90 class helicopter.
The Egyptian Navy is also looking for smaller ship, with a length of around 60 meters. Fincantieri answers this requirement with its 60 meters Fast Attack Craft. Designed to reduce its radar cross section, it can carry out a variety of military and paramilitary missions. Its overall length is 63 meters, with a beam of 9.2 meters, full displacement being around 670 tons. Maximum speed is 30 knots, the powerplant being made of four diesel engines, while at 15 knots the ship can sail for 1,500 Nautical Miles. Mission endurance with a crew of 38 is one week. The main sensor is the 3D multi-functional radar, which is complemented by other radars, IR and electro-optical sensors. The weapons suite includes an 8-cell MICA vertical launcher, two surface-to-surface missiles, one 76/62 mm gun, two 30 mm cannons, and two anti-air warfare decoy launchers.
Fincantieri is ready to make a transfer of technology to the Alexandria Shipyards, should it succeed in one of the contracts. The presence of the Italian shipyard at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre marked a warm up of the bilateral relations, the company being very satisfied of the high-level contacts with the Egyptian Navy made just before and during EDEX.