Egypt turns away from France
According to the French newspaper "La Tribune" in Michel Cabirol's article "Armement: nouvelle claque de la France en Egypte", Egypt is close to completing negotiations with the Italian shipbuilding association Fincantieri on the acquisition of two FREMM frigates for the Egyptian fleet. Presumably, we are talking about Egypt's purchase of the last two frigates of the FREMM type (ninth and tenth), built by Fincantieri for the Italian Navy - F 598 Spartaco Schergat (at the testing stage) and F 589 Emilio Bianchi (now under construction afloat).
According to the publication, this was yet another evidence of Egypt's turn from military-technical cooperation with France, which has been so actively developing over the past few years.
Recall that as part of a package of contracts with the French side, signed in February 2015, Egypt acquired a frigate of the FREMM D 651 Normandie type FREMM, which was originally built for the French fleet and was undergoing testing. The frigate, Egyptianly named FFG 1001 Tahya Misr, was transferred to the Egyptian Navy in June 2015. The contract provided an option for the possible construction of another FREMM type frigate for Egypt in France, but it was never implemented, and now Egypt has requested the Italians to purchase two FREMM type frigates.
It is reported that both Italian frigates will be sold at a total price of approximately 1.2 billion euros (apparently without the cost of missile ammunition), while the Italian state investment bank Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) will provide partial funding, which is ready to provide a loan against state guarantees in the amount of up to 500 million euros. Thus, the Italian offer is beneficial for the Egyptians both commercially - the 2015 contract with France for the acquisition of Normandie frigate amounted to 950 million euros (including the cost of training personnel and service for five years), in addition to the package also included a contract worth 400 million euros missile weapons for this frigate (Aster 15 missiles and Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles).
According to the publication, France’s relations with Egypt deteriorated sharply after the visit of French President Emanuel Macron to Cairo in January 2019, when Macron publicly criticized Egyptian President Marshal Abdel al-Sisi for the human rights situation and pressure on civil society, these public attacks were not agreed with the Egyptian side, and the Egyptian leader took Macron's actions as a personal insult.
As a result, the Egyptian side virtually froze all planned additional agreements on the purchase of French weapons - including option contracts for 12 Dassault Rafale fighters (in addition to 24 ordered) and two Gowind project corvettes (in addition to four ordered). There was also no deal to purchase 12 Airbus Helicopters H225M transport helicopters for the Egypt Air Force.