Notes: This is the Egyptian navy’s new missile boat programme, many years delayed. In March 1999, the Egyptian navy requested the USN to manage the acquisition of six to eight new missile craft. The USN’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) was awarded a nominal $1 million contract for this duty. The Egyptian navy specified the ships to be under 1000 tons and have 4-8 anti-ship missiles, a 76mm gun, a CIWS, and a point-defense SAM.
The USN initially suggested the Cyclone class but this was rejected by the Egyptian navy. The choices were then identified as an “Americanized” Lurssen FPB-62 to be built at Marinette Marine in WI; a modernized al-Siddiq (as used by Saudi Arabia) to be built by OIW-Peterson in OR; Swiftswhips’ private-venture “Defiance” design to be built in MS; and Halter Marine’s private-venture “Ambassador III” design to be built in MS.
On 1 July 2001 the Ambassador III design was chosen. Because of doubts that Halter could build the ships without huge overruns, the project was trimmed to four units to commission between 2005-2008.
(below: the original 2001 design, which differs somewhat from the final design)
Due to the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Halter (and it’s sale to new corporate parent VT), Hurricane Katrina, and changes in US policy after 9/11; construction of the ships never started. By 2004 (when the leadship should have been already launched and conducting trials), construction had not even yet began and the project looked dead. However in 2005 the project was restarted (with some changes to the design) and on 21 December 2009 the final export approval package was submitted to Congress by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
The ships can operate in sea state 4 and survive sea state 6; with two sets of fin stabilizers. They are of aluminum construction with some steel components. Although not “stealthy”, the hull is of lower radar-reflectiveness, with flat panels partially concealing some topside features such as the Harpoon tubes.
The ships are expected to spend about 95 days per year at sea, with the propulsion plant to run about 2400 hours annually (including pierside). Currently the Egyptian navy plans to only have one at a time fully operational, with one in refit and the other two in “ready reserve” status that could be activated at short notice. They will have drydock overhauls every two years.
Including training, initial loadouts, and miscellaneous expenses, the total cost of the class will be about $1 billion, with $807 million being the shipbuilding itself; at an average cost of $201 million (nearly double the original 2001 estimate of $102 million) although the leadship’s cost is frontloaded, meaning the fourth unit will cost $165 million. Almost all of the funding will be through US military aid dollars. The keel of the first unit was laid on 7 April 2010 at VT Halter’s Pascagoula, MS shipyard. In early 2010, some defense websites reported that the Egyptian navy was already thinking of scaling back the project to three ships.
Displacement: 550t standard, 751t full Dimensions: 209’9”x32’10”x6’8” Machinery: 3 Detroit Diesel diesels, 3 shafts Max speed: 40kts Range: 2000NM @ 15kts (8 days max endurance) Complement: 36 (8 officers, 28 enlisted)
x8 RGM-84G Harpoon 60NM surface
x1 RIM-116 RAM launcher 4NM AA
x1 OTO-Melara 76/62 SuperRapido Gen II 7NM AA/surface
x1 Mk15 Phalanx 20mm CIWS 2NM AA
x2 M-60 7.62mm MG ¼ NM AA/surface
TRS-3D (C) 43NM 3D air search/track / 32NM surface search/Harpoon targeting
Scout (I/J) 30NM surface search (range, bearing)
Sting-E (K) 40NM FC for main gun
Bridgemaster (I) 22NM navigation (range, bearing)
Thales EO Mk2 LLTV gunsight for 76mm gun
Mk36 SRBOC countermeasures
LINK-14, AN/SWG-1 Harpoon control panel, commercial GPS receiver