The French government is reported to be considering relinquishing a FREMM multi-mission frigate from the production line in response to a procurement request from Egypt. Having recently placed a €1 billion order for four Gowind 2500 corvettes, the Egyptians are said to also want an Aquitaine class frigate to help protect the new Suez Canal project.

The prospect of a €600 million quick sale to a customer also interested in acquiring 24 Rafale fighter jets may well be too good an opportunity to pass up. There would be some practical obstacles to overcome, not least the problem of training a crew to operate such a sophisticated warship at short notice, when the Egyptian Navy is already lacking qualified personnel.

There is also the matter of which ship to transfer. If a deal went ahead, it could be any one of Normandie, Languedoc or Auvergne. The second of class, Normandie, is almost ready for delivery to the French Navy and would require the removal of some of her advanced weapons systems.

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