The Egyptian Navy conducted on January 3 a large-scale exercise designed for imposing maritime control over the economic zones in the Mediterranean Sea and securing Egypt’s interests in this critical region, as part of annual combat training for the country’s armed forces. Frigates and ship-based helicopters with anti-submarine and anti-surface threat capabilities launched anti-submarine missiles as part of close and remote-range operations. A variety of fighting methods were carried out, utilizing all elements of amphibious operation such as planning and implementation.
In an official statement, the Ministry of Defense of Egypt said that Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Gamal Abdel Nasser, Gowind-class corvettes, Perry-class frigates, Ambassador MK III fast missile craft and 209-class diesel-electric attack submarine, took part in the exercise. Ka-52K Katran AH-64 Apache Chinook and SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopters operating from Gamal Abdel Nasser, as well as F-16 fighter jets provided air support during the exercise. Forces from the commandos, paratroopers, and the Northern Military Region also participated in the operation
As part of the day’s activities, an Egyptian submarine launched an anti-ship surface-to-surface (Harpoon) missile at a range of over 130 kilometers, with another surface-to-sea missile successfully launched as well. The exercises carried out by Egypt’s Naval Forces on Wednesday demonstrated the outstanding performance of the country’s naval units, which have been successful in adapting to modern systems and securing Egypt’s economic interests in the Mediterranean Sea.
The large-scale exercises came amid high tension with Turkey, which reached a controversial maritime agreement with the Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya on eastern Mediterranean last month. The tension intensified earlier this week, when the Turkish parliament approved a bill allowing the deployment of forces in Libya to support the GNA. Concerned about its 1,200-km western border with Libya where the smuggling of arms and militants has been very active since the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The Egyptian Navy’s drills reflects Cairo’s determination to counter the growing Turkish influence in neighboring Libya and the eastern Mediterranean in general.