Friday,24 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1342, (27 April - 3 May 2017)
Friday,24 November, 2017
Issue 1342, (27 April - 3 May 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Maiden voyage

Ahmed Eleiba reports on the navy’s acquisition of the first of four German submarines

209/1400 submarine
209/1400 submarine

On Wednesday the Egyptian navy held a small ceremony to mark the arrival in Alexandria of its first German-made Type 209/1400 submarine. The state-of-the-art submarine will enhance the Egyptian navy’s capacity to ensure maritime security, protect Egypt’s borders, safeguard economic interests in the Red Sea and Mediterranean and enhance the navy’s ability to ensure the safety of international maritime routes and the security of the Suez Canal.

The S-41, with a range of 11,000 nautical miles and a speed of up to 21 knots, has a displacement of 1,400 tons and is capable of firing missiles and torpedoes. The submarine, which has been equipped with the latest navigation and communications systems, represents a major technological advance for the navy.

It is the first of four Type 209/1400 submarines that Egypt ordered from Germany. The contract was signed in 2011 and construction began at the TKMS shipyard in Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein in March 2012. The vessel was launched on 10 December 2015 and received by Egypt on 12 December 2016, when the Egyptian flag was raised on the submarine.

The specialised navigational and technical crews for the new submarine were trained in record time. The submarine sailed out of the port at Kiel on 28 March 2017, completing the 3,644-mile journey in 22 days. On 18 April 2017 it joined a joint training exercise with other naval units off the Egyptian coast. Egyptian naval vessels that took part in the reception ceremony for the S41 included a Mistral aircraft carrier, FREMM frigate and Sajam frigate. 

The reception ceremonies for the S-41 in Ras Al-Tin opened with a formal oath in which the submarine commander pledged to carry out all missions assigned by the General Command of the Armed Forces. The commander of the Egyptian navy then shook hands with crew members.

In his speech Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Rear Admiral Khaled Hassan Said said: “We are witnessing today a new and important moment in the history of our navy and a new episode in its development. The navy is working to enhance its combat capacities in order to ensure full and comprehensive control over the coasts of the Arab Republic of Egypt and safeguard its territorial and economic waters.”

Admiral Said went on to note that the S-41 (Type 209/1400), one of the most modern submarines in the world, was a testimony to the “vision of our political leaders in addressing the mounting challenges and threats in the region”.

Said then spoke of the comprehensive development plan that will bolster the combat capacities of the navy. It will equip the navy with modern advanced combat capacity units capable of spending extended periods at sea and entails developing the infrastructure to receive and service such units at ports, naval bases and other naval facilities. He stressed that the armament development programme extends beyond surface units to include a “deeper dimension”.

Submarines, said Said, give the navy an “added strategic capacity and deterrent power”.

At a press conference at the naval base in Alexandria, Said fielded questions from journalists. Asked about the costly operating expenses of submarines he said the acquisition of a powerful and modern navy was by definition expensive but given that the navy is responsible for the protection of Egypt’s national maritime wealth and resources, including underwater gas and oil fields, such costs had to be shouldered.

“Egypt is one of the first countries in the Middle East to possess this type of submarine,” said Said. “It elevates the ranking of the Egyptian army and navy in terms of combat capacities, time at sea, ability to support diverse weapons and conduct combat actives alone or in collaboration with other naval units.”

“The German-made submarines that are being added to our fleet offer a powerful addition to the navy and to the Egyptian Armed Forces in general.”

“Modernising the submarine arsenal is core to developing the navy. Submarines are the heart of the naval force. They are a strategic weapon and the only one capable of taking the enemy by surprise, and with total stealth.”

THE JOINT Egyptian-US naval exercise Eagle Salute 2017 began this week in Egyptian territorial waters off the Red Sea coast. The military manoeuvres are being observed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Pakistan, Kuwait and Italy.

The exercises include joint combat activities in daylight and at night, conducted in collaboration with Air Forces units, training in maritime search and rescue operations and intercepting and boarding suspect vessels.

Eagle Salute 2017 is being held in the framework of efforts to promote and strengthen cooperation between the Egyptian and US armed forces and aim to familiarise the Egyptian navy with the latest naval combat systems and methods.

The exercise reflects “the depth of the partnership and strategic cooperation between the two countries in many fields,” according to a statement released by the Egyptian Armed Forces.

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