Fremm of Fincantieri in Egypt, what will happen to the Navy?

Fremm of Fincantieri in Egypt, what will happen to the Navy?

How do experts divide the sale of Fincantieri's two Fremm frigates to Egypt, initially intended for the Navy. The analyzes of De Giorgi (ex SSM chief), De Sancts (Limes), Gaiani (Defense Analysis) and Batacchi (Rid)

The authorization procedure at the conclusion of the negotiations for the supply of the Fremm Fincantieri frigates to Egypt "is still in progress". This was stated yesterday by Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, during the question time in the Chamber. "In addition to the technical-legal scrutiny, the government has obviously decided to carry out a political evaluation, underway at the level of government delegations under the guidance of the Prime Minister".

The clarification of Luigi Di Maio comes after the Italian media reported on Monday that Rome had already authorized the sale of the two Fremm in Cairo, the Spartaco Schergat and the Emilio Bianchi, for an estimated value of about 1.1 billion euros .

In addition to the controversy over the operation between the majority of government (not only between the 5 stars and the LEU but also in the Democratic Party ), discontent also sets sail within the Italian Navy. The latter was in fact the recipient of the two frigates sold to Egypt.

At this point, therefore, it becomes fundamental to compensate the Navy and reintegrate the fleet as soon as possible. Here's what defense experts and insiders think.


In recent days, the pan- Arab weekly The Arab Weekly wrote that Italy could sell 6 Fremm frigates to Egypt (4 new over the 2 mentioned) and 20 Fincantieri offshore patrol boats, as well as 24 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters and numerous aircraft. Leonardo's M-346 training aircraft, plus an observation satellite, for a total value of 10.7 billion dollars.

The order, one of the largest in the post-war period, would confirm Egypt as the first customer of the Italian military industry (it already is with a turnover of 871 million euros only in 2019).


"For the moment the only certainty is that two brand new Fremm will go to Egypt instead of to our Navy, at the expense of Italy which will advance 1.1 billion euros, however, without commitment for Egypt to order others to be built in Italy" , commented the former Chief of Staff of the Navy, Admiral Giuseppe De Giorgi, to Tiscali News .

"As regards the construction of patrolling ships in Egypt by Fincantieri, this would represent yet another delocalisation of production activities abroad, to the detriment of the national shipbuilding industry, of the revival of employment in the naval engineering and related industries, with the aggravating circumstance of creating a shipbuilding center in the Middle East, capable of competing with the Italian shipbuilding industry in the years to come, "observed De Giorgi.

For De Giorgi “this is not the time to weaken the Navy while the Mediterranean situation is becoming more and more dangerous, just as it is time to bring industrial investments back to Italy, with the obvious benefits in terms of GDP and jobs ".


The dynamic of the agreement does not fully convince Alberto de Sanctis, analyst at Limes . “The failure to compensate the Italian Navy can weaken us objectively just as the fast naval rearmament of the neighbors is underway in the Mediterranean. This is why it should be absolutely avoided. Egypt itself – which is an integral part of this risk – certainly does not magically transform into our new and friendly partner only by virtue of the deal. Just look at Libya, where its approach is opposite to the Italian one ".

Furthermore, in the absence of a rebalancing "the agreement on frigates indirectly favors the Turkish opponent" highlights de Sanctis. “If on the one hand it weakens the superior Italian fleet, on the other it further dilutes the backbone of an Egyptian battle line that does not already shine for homogeneity. As evidence of the fact that Cairo's arms acquisition policy is still heavily affected by considerations of diplomatic utility even before military. Even on the sale price it is legitimate to have some doubts, if it is true that the 1.2 billion promised for the two Fremm correspond roughly to their cost price ".

Precisely for these reasons, de Sanctis concludes that "the whole operation will acquire meaning only when the indiscretions that tie the sale of the Fincantieri frigates to the multi-billion dollar contracts between Italy and Egypt are confirmed".


"The" Italic Tafazzismo "for once has been defeated". Instead, he applauds Gianandrea Gaiani, director of AnalysisDifesa , at the green light of the two frigates in Egypt. "Of course these are orders still to be confirmed and, if necessary, to be negotiated with Egypt but which constitute an opportunity for the entire Italian industry (starting with Fincantieri, Leonardo and Elettronica) which will face a period of crisis post Covid-19 focusing on exports for Defense since it will be difficult to rely on large orders in the civil sectors ".

Gaiani in fact enhances the opportunities that open up with Egypt, which go far beyond the mere aspect of the export of defense products to take on the contours of the strategic agreement.

"If we combine the success in Cairo with that recently registered in Qatar , rival of Egypt and other major buyer of ships, submarines, missiles and helicopters made in Italy" highlights Gaiani, it is clear that Rome is carving out, thanks above all to its strategic companies , a very important role in the Arab world that offers political and diplomatic opportunities in terms of influence and prestige that must be seized.


Finally, the director of Rid , Pietro Batacchi, also agrees on the need to maintain the Italian fleet's capacity unaltered – if not strengthened. “There was talk of 2 alternatives so far. The first: immediate exercise of the option for the 3 missing PPAs in the Full variant, exploiting their modularity and versatility to obtain a variant capable of expressing antisom capability as well. The second: 2 new "replacement" Fremm for the Navy. Well, from Fincantieri they informed us that the question does not actually arise even since there is already the agreement to re / integrate the fleet with 2 new Fremm ".

So the Navy should be calm, it would only be a matter of time. If the Schergat frigate, which was to be delivered to the Navy on June 5 , were actually to leave for Egypt, the Italian fleet would only have to wait any longer.

"It is therefore only a matter of adopting a contractual modification that would move forward the delivery to the Navy of the ninth and tenth Fremm", emphasizes Batacchi. “Not only that, but from Fincantieri they confirmed to us that the agreement with Egypt also provides for an option for another 2 (new) Fremm which would thus bring the total of the“ Italian ”variant of the frigates to as many as 14. In short, in the end games would be a benefit for the whole system: in geopolitical, industrial and technological-employment terms ".

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Fri, 12 Jun 2020 04:00:19 +0000.