Egypt has agreed to buy two Mistral class assault ships from France, the French government announced today.
The Wall Street Journal previously cited French officials that Cairo was in talks with Paris to buy the ships. Going so far as to say that Egypt was “among the serious options”.
In September last year, French President François Hollande announced that due to Russia’s “recent actions in Ukraine”, the two ships built for Russia, Vladivostok and Sevastopol, would not be delivered. France has now paid Russia a sum greater than $1 billion in compensation.
A report by Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, quoted by Russia Today’s Arabic service and an array of other Russian sources, claims that Egypt has shown significant interest in purchasing the first vessel with the help of a Russian loan.
The Mistral class is a class of 21,000 tonne amphibious assault ships capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, up to 70 vehicles and 450 soldiers. France has three vessels in service, Mistral, Tonnerre and Dixmude.
Canada had been “actively pursuing” the two vessels for months, with Canada’s defence minister having a face to face exchange at the NATO Ministerial in June 2015. The initiative had been put on hold as of September 2015 due to Canada’s upcoming national election and has now, been scrapped.