Adm. Ashraf Atwa, commander of the Egyptian Naval Force, and Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of the US Fifth Fleet, US Naval Forces Central Command, and the Combined Maritime Forces, signed the official handover document, according to Egyptian armed forces spokesperson Gharib Abdel-Hafez.
The transfer ceremony, during which the Egyptian flag was raised on the boats to mark their entry into service, followed a program of training and professional exchanges designed to improve cooperation and joint initiatives between the two countries’ naval forces.
Abdel-Hafez said that the Egyptian Navy has recently implemented great technological improvements to its armament systems and combat efficiency, in line with international standards.
Atwa highlighted the efforts of Egyptian armed forces to enhance the capabilities of its naval fleet to enhance security and stability. He added that the delivery of the vessels reflected the strong strategic partnership between Egypt and the US.
“The Cyclone-class patrol boats are among the most advanced units in the US Navy and represent a new addition to Egypt’s naval forces,” he said.
In a message posted on its website, the US Navy said: “The transfer ceremony represents the culmination of weeks of preparation, training and professional exchanges between Egyptian and US Navy sailors.”
US crews have been training their Egyptian counterparts to use the vessels since they arrived in Alexandria on Feb. 12, the US Navy said, with courses devoted to a range of disciplines including engineering, search-and-rescue operations, damage control, and weapons handling.
The vessels sailed to Egypt from Bahrain, with US and Egyptian sailors navigating around the Arabian Peninsula during a 4,000-mile, month-long journey. It included stops at Jebel Ali in the UAE, Duqm in Oman, Djibouti, and Berenice in Egypt.
“The Egypt-US maritime partnership has been a fundamental pillar of our bilateral defense cooperation for decades,” Cooper said.
“This transfer is yet another major milestone in our strong relationship that will enhance regional maritime security for years to come.”
Capt. Anthony Webber, commander of the US Navy 5th Fleet Task Force 55, said: “This transfer process was an incredible opportunity for our crews. It enabled us to strengthen our bilateral ties while enhancing our interoperability with a highly capable regional maritime partner.”
In November, the Egyptian Navy accepted delivery of its first German Meko A-200 frigate, which is equipped to secure cargo ships and provide humanitarian support. Named Al-Aziz, it is the first of four to be delivered and was built by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems at the SBN shipyard,.
In August last year, the Egyptian Navy carried out a joint training exercise with US and Spanish naval forces in the Mediterranean. The Egyptian frigate El-Fateh joined the US destroyer USS Forrest Sherman and Spanish frigate ESPS Almirante Juan De Borbon for the drills, which included responses to threats to international navigation and the flow of global trade.