CAIRO: Egyptian and French naval forces have carried out a joint naval training exercise in the northern Mediterranean amid growing tensions between the two countries and Turkey over Ankara’s gas exploration ambitions in the region.
Two frigates were involved in the joint exercise, which is part of the Egyptian armed forces’ plan to upgrade training and strengthen cooperation with the armed forces of “brotherly and friendly states,” according to a statement issued by the armed forces.
An Egyptian military spokesman said that Egypt’s Taba frigate and France’s Jean Bart frigate took part in the exercise with the aim of “enhancing joint cooperation between the Egyptian and the French armed forces, and support naval security and stability in the region.”
The Egyptian-French joint exercise comes as tension grows in the eastern Mediterranean due to economic and geopolitical conflicts between regional and international powers in an area where new sources of energy have been discovered.
The exercise included training on sailing formations, which highlighted the capacity of naval units to take their position with high speed and precision. The exercise also included training on evaluating air, land and below surface threats.
Air threats brought a response with strikes carried out by Egyptian F-16 fighter jets. The exercise reflected the high combat experiences of both the Egyptian and French sides, according to the official Facebook page of the army spokesman.
The exercise included training activities such as securing and protecting a strategic area against submarine threats at night, electronic warfare training, and responding to and deterring asymmetrical threats.
Training also involved different sailing formations as well as carrying out a range of communication exercises.
Other exercises included a simulation on protecting a strategic ship while crossing a dangerous zone, and measures taken by warships of various countries to protect economic zones. The exercise demonstrated the competence of the Egyptian and French sides in carrying out their assigned tasks, the spokesman said.
The exercises are part of Egyptian and French plans to strengthen cooperation between armed forces, and to updated military personnel on combat techniques and expertise. The training exercise is also aimed at boosting naval peace, security and stability in the Mediterranean.