Amid political turmoil last November, the Egyptian Navy took delivery of the S. Ezzat, the first of a new class of Ambassador Mk-III guided-missile patrol craft. The heavily armed ships, built by VT Halter Marine in Gulfport, Mississippi, were paid for largely with U.S. Foreign Military Assistance funding. Carrying Harpoon antiship missiles, RAM surface-to-air missiles, a 3-inch gun, and a Phalanx close-in weapon system, the class is intended for defense of the Suez Canal region and patrol of Egyptian coastal waterways in the Red and Mediterranean seas. Relatively small in size, the ships carry a crew of 36, measure 205 feet long, and displace 700 tons fully loaded. They are capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots, and have a range of 2,000 miles while cruising at 15 knots. Three additional sisters of the class, the F. Zekry, M. Fahmy, and A. Gad, are due to enter Egyptian service by 2015.
By Eric Wertheim