Egyptian Navy

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Egyptian Navy
Naval Ensign of Egypt.svg
Naval Ensign
Active 1845 - Present
Country Egypt
Type Navy
Size Active: 18,000
Reserve: 14,000
Total: 32,000[1]
Part of Egyptian Armed Forces
Naval Headquarters (NvHQ) Alexandria
Colours Blue and White
Anniversaries 21 October
Equipment 245 vessels [2]
Commander in Chief of the Navy Rear Admiral Ossama Mounir Rabie
Chief of Staff of the Navy Rear Admiral Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed
Ceremonial Flag
Naval Flag of Egypt.svg
Insignia Egyptian Navy ranks
Aircraft flown
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye
Helicopter Aérospatiale Gazelle, Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite, Westland Sea King

The Egyptian Navy is the maritime branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. It is the largest navy in the Middle East and Africa, and is the seventh largest in the world measured by the number of vessels.[3] The navy's missions include protection of more than 2,000 kilometers of coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, defense of approaches to the Suez Canal, and support for army operations. The majority of the Egyptian Navy was created with the help of the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The navy received ships in the 1980s from China and other, western, sources. In 1989, the Egyptian Navy had 18,000 personnel as well as 2,000 personnel in the Coast Guard.[4]


Ramses III at the Battle of the delta between the Egyptian Navy and the Sea Peoples approximately 1198-1166 BC
Muhammad Ali pasha of Egypt displaying his army and navy 1830-1848

Egypt has had a Navy since Ancient Egyptian times. The Ancient Egyptian Navy was a vital part of the Military of ancient Egypt, helping to transport troops along the Nile River and fighting many battles such as the Battle of the Delta against the Sea Peoples. The Ancient Egyptian Navy imported many of their ships from countries such as the Kingdom of Cyprus.[5] Several Ancient Egyptian solar ships are still present today.

In the early 1800s, Egypt under Muhammad Ali Pasha developed a modern European-style army and navy. After intervening in the Greek War of Independence at Ottoman Turkey's request, the Egyptian navy was destroyed in 1827 at the Battle of Navarino by the fleets of Great Britain, France and Russia. With the Egyptian army in Greece now isolated, Muhammad Ali was forced to make terms with the British and withdraw a year later.

A replacement fleet was built for the First Egyptian-Ottoman War in 1831, and landed troops at Jaffa in support of the main Egyptian army marching into Syria. In the Second Egyptian–Ottoman War in 1839, following Egyptian victory in the Battle of Nezib, the Ottoman fleet sailed to Alexandria and defected to the Egyptian side. However, these victories provoked decisive European intervention to support the Turks, and while Muhammad Ali's dynasty continued to reign, Egypt ended up effectively a British colony until the 1950s.

The Egyptian navy was only peripherally involved in the series of conflicts with Israel. During the Suez Crisis, Egypt dispatched the Ibrahim el Awal, an ex-British Hunt class destroyer, to Haifa with the aim of shelling that city's coastal oil installations. On 31 October the Ibrahim el Awal reached Haifa and began bombarding the city but was driven off by a French warship and then pursued by the Israeli destroyers INS Eilat and INS Yaffo which, with the help of the Israeli Air Force, captured the ship.[6] Egyptian destroyers and torpedo boats engaged larger British vessels in a move aimed at undermining the amphibious operations of the British and French. On the night of 31 October in the northern Red Sea, the British light cruiser HMS Newfoundland challenged and engaged the Egyptian frigate Domiat, reducing it to a burning hulk in a brief gun battle. The Egyptian warship was then sunk by escorting destroyer HMS Diana, with 69 surviving Egyptian sailors rescued.[7]

Egyptian and Ottoman Navy during the war of Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire

The Egyptian Navies blockade of Israeli ships in the Strait of Tiran that were headed toward the Israeli port of Eilat was on of the main causes of the Six-Day War. During the war, the Israeli Navy landed six combat divers from the Shayetet 13 naval commando unit to infiltrate Alexandria harbor. The divers sank an Egyptian minesweeper before being taken prisoner. Both Egyptian and Israeli warships made movements at sea to intimidate the other side throughout the war, but did not engage each other. However, Israeli warships and aircraft did hunt for Egyptian submarines throughout the war.

In October 1967, a few months after the cease-fire, the Egyptian Navy was the first navy in history to sink a ship using anti-ship missiles, when an Egyptian Komar class fast-attack craft sank the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat with two direct hits.[8] This was a milestone of modern naval warfare, and for the first time anti-ship missiles showed their potential, sinking the destroyer 17 km off Port Said.

On the night of 15–16 November 1969, Egyptian Navy frogmen attacked the port of Eilat and caused severe damages to the armed transport ship "Bat Yam".[9] On 5–6 February 1970, the Frogmen attacked the Israeli landing ships at the same port and same piers causing severe damages to the landing ships "Bait Shivaa" and transport armed ships "Hydroma".[9] On 8 March 1970, the Frogmen attacked the Israeli oil drill "Keting" at the port of Abidjan in Ivory Coast believing that Israel had bought this oil drill from the Netherlands for the purposes of oil exploration in the Suez Gulf.[9]

In the Yom Kippur War, Egypt blocked commercial traffic to Eilat in the Gulf of Aqaba by laying mines; it also attempted to blockade Israeli ports on the Mediterranean.[4] The navy also used the coastal artillery to the east of Port Fouad to support the Egyptian Army in order to prepare for the assault on the Suez Canal.[9] In the Battle of Baltim, three Egyptian Osa-class missile boats were sunk.

Chain of command

Admirals Senior officers Junior officers
Shoulder straps EgyptianNavyInsignia-Admiral-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-ViceAdmiral-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-RearAdmiral-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-Commodore-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-Captain-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-Commander-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-LieutenantCommander-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-Lieutenant-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-SubLieutenant-shoulderboard.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-Ensign-shoulderboard.svg
Patches Generic-Navy-O11-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O10-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O9-sleeve.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-Commodore-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O7-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O5-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O4-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O3-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O2-sleeve.svg Generic-Navy-O1-sleeve.svg
Title Admiral
فريق أول
Vice Admiral
Rear Admiral
Lieutenant Commander
ملازم أول
code NATO OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
Under the officers and sailors
Patches EgyptianNavyInsignia-StaffSergeant.svg EgyptianNavyInsignia-Sergeant.svg 50px
Title Chief Petty Officer
رقيب أول
Petty Officer
Leading Seaman
code NATO OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1

Flags ships

Flag Ceremonial Flag Pennant
Naval Ensign of Egypt.svg Naval Flag of Egypt.svg 300px

Ranks Flags

Vice-admiral Rear-admiral Senior on the roads
250px 190px 250px



The Egyptian navy's headquarters and main base is at Alexandria on the Mediterranean Sea with other Mediterranean naval bases at Port Said and Mersa Matruh.

Red Sea

Egypt naval bases on the Red Sea are Hurghada, Safaga, Berenice and Suez.

Present fleet

A Knox class frigate, with the flag of Egyptian Navy.

The Egyptian Navy will be restructured into two different fleets, one for the Mediterranean sea and the other for the Red Sea. This in a context where the safety of shipping in the Red Sea is becoming increasingly important.[10]


The two former Russian vessels were acquired by Egypt for roughly 950 million euros.

See: List of ships of the Egyptian Navy for detailed information about modifications, and major specifications


The Egyptian Air Force equipment that supports the navy includes the following:

In mid-1988 the air force also took delivery of the first of 6 Grumman E-2C Hawkeye aircraft, now 8 units are operational and are used to secure the maritime borders among other missions; it also operates 6 Beechcraft 1900C aircraft for maritime surveillance purposes with search and side-looking radar. The Egyptian Navy also uses Mil Mi-8 and Sea King helicopters to transport troops.[11]

Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system.


Ship to ship/surface missiles

  • P-270 Moskit/SS-N-22 with 120 km range and 320 kg payload (launched from P-32 Molniya class missile boat).
  • HY-1 with 85 km range and 513 kg payload (launched from Hegu class Coastal FAC/M).
  • Harpoon with more than 124 km range and 220 kg payload (launched from Ambassador class FPB/M, Knox class frigates, Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates & Discubierta class light frigates).
  • Exocet (MM-38) with 65 km range and 165 kg payload (launched from Tiger class FPB/M).
  • Otomat Mk1 with 80 km range and 210 kg payload (launched from Ramadan class FPB/M & October class FAC/M).
  • SS-N-2a Styx with 43 km range and 513 kg payload (launched from OSA I).

Surface to ship/surface missile (coastal defence)

  • FL-1 with 150 km range and 513 kg payload.
  • KSR-2 (AS-5 "Kelt") with 200 km range and 1000 kg payload. (Modified from air-launched version)
  • Otomat MkII with 180 km+ range and 210 kg payload.
  • Exocet (MM-40 MK III) with 180 km range and 165 kg payload.

The Egyptian Coast Guard

The Egyptian Coast Guard is responsible for the onshore protection of public installations near the coast and the patrol of coastal waters to prevent smuggling. Currently consists of one hundred five ships and craft.

Patrol boats

  • 22 Timsah I/II class
  • 12 Sea Spectre PB Mk III class
  • 9 Swiftships class
  • 6 MV70 class
  • 5 P-6 (Project 183) class
  • 3 Textron class

Patrol crafts

  • 25 Swiftships 26m class
  • 16 SR.N6 class
  • 9 Type 83 class
  • 6 Crestitalia class
  • 12 Spectre class
  • 12 Peterson class
  • 5 Nisr class
  • 29 DC-30 class
  • 3 of 6 MRTP-20 Yonka Onuk MRTP-20 class[12][13]


The Egyptian Navy has adopted the 60m diesel-powered Ambassador MK III fast missile patrol craft. The construction of the boats began in spring 2001. Egypt already had an older version of the Ambassador patrol craft in service, but the new boats would contain an update in design meant to make the vessels more resistant to radar detection. Design was conducted with the assistance of Lockheed Martin. Throughout recent years, Egypt has been constructing various Ramos-grade shipyards, which are capable of making more recent vessels like larger fast attack crafts, low-grade aircraft carriers (such as Oryx-class or Nimitz-class) and nuclear submarines, though none of the aforementioned vessles have been constructed there.

The navy is currently undergoing a modernization of its surface fleet. On 16 February 2015, the Egyptian Navy ordered one FREMM multipurpose frigate from the French shipbuilder DCNS to enter service before the opening of the New Suez Canal, as part of a larger deal (including 24 Rafales and a supply of missiles) worth €5.2bn.[14][15] Egypt has also signed a €1bn contract with DCNS to buy four Gowind 2,500 ton corvettes with an option for two more.[16] The ageing submarine fleet is to be replaced starting in 2016 when the first of four Type 209 submarine's worth €920 million start arriving from Germany.[17]

On 7 August 2015, Le Monde reported that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are in discussions with France to purchase the two amphibious assault ship Mistral class originally intended for Russia. Le Monde quoted a French diplomatic source as confirming that French President François Hollande discussed the matter with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during his visit to Egypt during the inauguration of the New Suez Canal in Ismailia.[18][19] On 24 September 2015, the French presidency announced that an agreement had been reached with Egypt for the supply of the two Mistrals.[20][21]


File:Fouad abuzikry.jpg
Fouad Mohamed Abou Zikry, Commander in Chief of the Egyptian Navy between 1967–1969 and 1972–1976.
  • Admiral Mahmoud Hamza Pasha (6 June 1946 – 1 October 1948)
  • Admiral Ahmed Bek Badr (2 October 1948 – 30 September 1951)
  • Admiral Mahmoud Bek Badr (1 October 1951 – 27 July 1952)
  • Vice Admiral Mohamed Nashid (28 July 1952 – 14 September 1952)
  • Admiral Suleiman Ezzat (15 September 1952 – 10 June 1967)
  • Vice Admiral Fouad Abu Zikry (11 June 1967 – 11 September 1969)
  • Rear Admiral Mahmoud Abdel Rahman Fahmy (12 September 1969 – 24 October 1972)
  • Vice Admiral Fouad Abu Zikry
  • Vice Admiral Ashraf Refaat
  • Vice Admiral Mohamed Ali Mohamed
  • Vice Admiral Ali Tawfik Gad (April 1983 - Oct 1987)
  • Vice Admiral Sherif AlSadek (Oct 1987 - Oct 1990)
  • Vice Admiral Ahmed Fadel
  • Vice Admiral Ahmed Saber Seleem
  • Vice Admiral Tamer Abdel Alim (October 2005 - October 2007)
  • Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish (October 2007 - 11 August 2012)
  • Vice Admiral Osama Ahmed ElGendy (14 August 2012 - 12 April 2015 )
  • Rear Admiral Osama Mounir Rabie (13 April 2015 - present)

See also


  1. International Institute for Strategic Studies (3 February 2014). The Military Balance 2014. London: Routledge. pp. 315–318. ISBN 9781857437225. |access-date= requires |url= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Total Navy Ship Strength by Country".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Global Firepower. "Navy Ship Strength by Country".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Egyptian Navy".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Kostas (2001)
  6. Max Wurmbrand, The Valiant of Israel, p. 80, Massada Press Ltd (1967)
  7. Pimlott – editor British Military Operations, 1945–1984 London: Guild Publishing 1984 p. 78
  8. Saad El Shazly The Crossing of the Suez p.23
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3
  10. "Egypte : après la FREMM..." (in français). 26 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Egyptian military aviation OrBat".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "قائد القوات البحرية: أحدث لنشات الصواريخ تنضم للخدمة 2013.. وبناء غواصتين من الجيل المتقدم بألمانيا - بوابة الأهرام". Retrieved 5 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "First Turkish Interceptor Delivered To Egyptian Navy |". Retrieved 5 June 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Lert, Frédéric (16 February 2015). "Egypt officially signs for 24 Rafales, FREMM frigate, and missiles". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 21 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Official French Navy Statement on the Sale of a FREMM Multi-Mission Frigate to Egypt". 13 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Egyptian Navy would be about to order 4 to 6 Gowind Combat Corvettes from DCNS". 5 March 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Binnie, Jeremy (3 February 2014). "Egypt reportedly to exercise option for two more subs". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 3 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Vente BPC". Elysee. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Egypt agrees to buy warships built for Russia from France". BBC News. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links