Egypt is set to acquire 2 Mistral aircraft carriers from France that were earlier contracted to go to Russia before they were suspended after the Crimea crisis at a cost of $1.06 billion and set to be delivered by March 2016.
France and Russia in 2011 under for French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s era, had signed a $1.3 billion contract for the 2 Mistral helicopter carriers. The deal; however fell apart amidst violent crisis in Crimea.
Egypt and France on September 24th reached an agreement that will see France deliver 2 Mistral Helicopter Carrier warships at the price of $1.06 billion set to be delivered in by March 2016.
The listed cost is inclusive of training of 400 Egyptian naval crew men to operate the two warships with purported to be stationed in the Red Sea the other at the Mediterranean Sea.
Negotiations for the warship were commenced in August 6th between French President Francois Hollande and Egyptian counter President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Egypt beat other countries like Canada, NATO, Brazil, India, Vietnam, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, and Singapore among other high players.
The Mistral Helicopter Carrier is a very powerful amphibious assault vessel that is fitted with six helicopter-landing pads that can carry 16 heavy helicopters, tanks and over 500 troops at any one given time.
The delivery of the two warships will without a doubt shift the balance of power both in the North African region but also at the Arab League which Egypt is a core member of. Egypt-France relations have strengthened as Egypt seeks allies from the West and especially Europe.
Egypt in the past months has invested heavily in advancing her artillery with the delivery of F-16 squadron delivery from Russia and French-made Dassault Rafale and MiG-29 fighters. Egypt’s involvement in the extensive counter-terrorism fight both in the Maghreb region, Sinai Peninsula and the Middle East can be viewed as the motivation towards the advanced weaponry purchases.
The warship are a priceless addition and boost especially in the fight against the Takfiri in the Sinai Peninsula as it will offer a secure offshore operational base to launch their attacks from have an upper hand against the militants.