Egypt, France launch joint naval drill in Red Sea

Cairo: The Egyptian and French navies have started a joint drill in the Red Sea, the Egyptian Armed Forces has said.

The exercises, scheduled to last several days, come within the framework of partnership and military cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries, a military statement said on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

A number of Egypt’s naval units, including the Mistral helicopter carrier, frigates and rocket launchers, participated in the naval drill, along with several French military boats and frigates, it added.

The joint drill aims to boost the maritime security and strengthen the combat efficiency of the naval forces of the two countries, in order to get ready for any joint missions under any circumstances, according to the statement.

The recent years have witnessed increasing military ties between Cairo and Paris.

In October 2015, Egypt and France signed a contract worth $1 billion on the purchase of two French Mistral warships, which were delivered to Egypt in June and September 2016.

Last July, the Egyptian armed forces received two Rafale fighter jets from France as the fourth batch of a deal worth more than 5.2 billion euros ($6.1 billion), which was inked in February 2015.

The number of Rafale warplanes delivered to Egypt has so far grown to 11 out of a total of 24 stated in the deal.