Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) attends a ceremony to celebrate the Egyptian Naval Day, in Alexandria, Egypt, Oct. 19, 2017. (Xinhua/MENA)
CAIRO, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hailed the readiness of the Naval Forces with their newly installed equipments to fight terrorism, state-run Ahram newspaper reported on Friday.
President Sisi on Thursday attended the naval exercise Zat al-Swaari 2017 ("the Battle of the Masts" in Arabic) in city of Alexandria as part of the celebration marking the Egyptian Naval Day, during which four newly-acquired units joined the Navy.
The president hoisted the Egyptian flag on the multi-purpose Anwar el-Sadat, a Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the French-made GOWIND frigate el-Fateh ("the conqueror" in Arabic) and two German-made Type 209 submarine.
President Sisi stressed during the exercise the importance of utmost readiness and to be always on alert to deal with the different regional challenges that face Egypt and the Arab nations currently.
"These advanced units are used in repelling hostile surface combatants in the littoral zones and open sea areas," said Admiral of the Fleet, Rear Admiral Ahmad Khaled, adding that the four new additions will increase the navy's ability to carry out long-term missions.
The navy top official highlighted that the high-tech units will contribute to the renewal of the Egyptian naval fleet, deeming it as a major part of a grand agenda to equip the Egyptian Navy with advanced weapons.
The Gowind 2500 corvette is the first of four ordered by Egypt from French shipbuilder Naval Group as per a 2014 contract estimated at 1 billion euros (about 1.2 billion U.S. dollars).
The corvette was officially delivered to Egypt in September in a ceremony held at the French city of Lorient.
As for the German-made Type-209/1400 submarine, Egypt ordered two from Berlin in 2011 and 2014.
The first was handed to Egypt in December 2016 and joined the Egyptian naval fleet in April 2017.
Earlier in late July, the Egyptian armed forces received two Rafale fighter jets from France as the fourth batch of a deal signed in February 2015 and worth over 5.2 billion euros.
The pair raised the number of Rafale warplanes to 11 out of total 24 stated in the deal. The first nine Rafale jets were handed to Egypt in three batches in July 2015, January 2016 and April 2017, respectively.
"The diversification of weapons and technology is a necessary move aimed to dissuade any country from exercising a monopoly over Egypt and from trying to blackmail it," Khaled said.
Renewal of the navy will strengthen the Egyptian forces international standing at a critical time when the region is gutted by terrorism, he added.
In recent years, the most populous Arab country has signed multibillion-dollar arms deals with a number of European countries to boost its military capabilities amid regional turmoil and conflicts, especially in Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.