A group of the Egyptian Navy’s ships called at the port of Novorossiysk for the first time to participate in the Russia-Egypt Friendship Bridge-2020 naval exercise, the press office of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet reported Tuesday.
On their way, the Egyptian naval vessels sailed through the Mediterranean Sea and also crossed the Dardanelles and the Bosporus straits.
The Russian-Egyptian Friendship Bridge-2020 drills will run in Novorossiysk and at the Black Sea Fleet’s naval combat training ranges on 17-24 November 2020.
The military exercise is the first naval maneuver that takes place in the Black Sea between both countries to enhance military cooperation and support efforts of bringing security and stability in the region.
“The Egyptian naval group comprises the frigate Alexandria, the corvette El Fateh and the fast missile craft M. Fahmy. Chief of the Egyptian Navy’s Operations Department Rear Admiral Mahmoud Adel Mahmoud Faizi has been appointed as the commander of the naval exercise and the head of the delegation on Egypt’s behalf,” the press office of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet said.
“After the mooring of the Egyptian and Russian naval forces, the Commanders of the ships within the exercise’s command group paid an official visit to Commander of the Novorossiysk Naval Base Rear Admiral Viktor Kochemazov and the Head of the Novorossiysk Administration,” the statement added.
The crews of the ships participating in the joint naval exercise laid flowers at the Memorial on the Alley of Heroes, paying tribute to the soldiers who had died during the Soviet Union’s 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany, the press office said.
The drills envisage the onshore and offshore phases that will be held in the Black Sea for the first time. The drills aim to strengthen and develop military cooperation between the Russian and Egyptian Navies in the interests of security and stability at sea and to exchange experience between the personnel in repelling various threats in the areas of intensive shipping, the statement says.
During the maneuvers, the Russian and Egyptian Navies will practice all types of ships’ protection and defense with firings against surface and air targets. Separate drills will be held to practice abeam replenishment at sea, measures to inspect suspicious vessels and render assistance to a ship in distress with the search for and the rescue of a drowning person, the press office said.
The Russian and Egyptian Navies have been holding Friendship Bridge drills since 2015. Both countries have been strengthening military ties, with recent arms deals involving a $2 billion order of Russian SU-35 jets in 2019.
Earlier this month, the Egyptian and French naval forces carried out drills by frigates Taba and Jean Bart in the Mediterranean.
The drills consisted of different sailing formations; evaluation of surface, air, and submarine threats and various scenarios to deal with them; counterattacking strikes launched by Egyptian F-16 aircraft.
The British Royal Navy also held drills with the Egyptian Navy this month, while James Heappey, UK Minister for the Armed Forces, met Egyptian Senior Naval Officers.
Two British warships and the Egyptian Mistral-class helicopter carrier ENS Anwar El Sadat, which was purchased from France, also took part in those exercises. The Royal Navy tweeted an image of one of its ships alongside the Egyptian carrier.
Lastly, Egyptian and Spanish naval forces conducted last Thursday a joint naval exercise in the Red Sea at Berenice Military Base in the Southern Fleet’s zone. The drill saw the participation of two Egyptian frigates “Al Nasser” and Abou Qir.
The war game included several professional training activities, such as air defense exercises against various surface threats. It also involved training on various sailing formations, and carrying out signal transportation exercises.