To enhance its ability to sustain operations against illicit states and nonstate actors, the Egyptian Navy conducted passing exercises (PASSEX) with partners in the U.S. and French navies in the Red Sea in March 2021.
The PASSEX jointly conducted by the Egyptian guided-missile frigate ENS Sharm El-Sheikh and U.S. amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset focused on navigating in close proximity and conducting maritime missions together.
The Egyptian-French PASSEX took place in the Egyptian Southern Fleet area of responsibility and included Egyptian frigate Sajam Al-Fateh and French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle — the only nuclear-powered European aircraft carrier. The exercise included helicopter landings on ships, maritime security drills and sailing in formation.
“The exercises aimed to enhance the combat capabilities of the naval units so that they can meet challenges in a way that contributes to supporting maritime security and stability in the region,” Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman Col. Tamer Al-Rifai said.
The USS Somerset’s crews praised their Egyptian partners and underscored the importance of joint operations. “Operating with the Egyptian Navy is a highlight for our deployment as the U.S. Navy operates forward to reassure friends and deter adversaries,” said Capt. Dave Kurtz, Somerset’s commanding officer.
The continuous training, dedication and diligent work of the Egyptian Navy earned it international recognition: It became the 34th member of the Bahrain-based Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) in April 2021.
“Today is a historic moment as Egypt enters into our enduring coalition,” said then-Vice Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of U.S. Naval Forces, U.S. 5th Fleet. “Egypt is an important partner in ensuring stability in the region, and we are honored to welcome Egypt’s partnership in our mission focused on making the region and world a safer place.”
Consisting of three task forces, CMF is a multinational maritime partnership to promote security in an arc stretching from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea. It combats piracy, arms and drug smuggling, terrorism and other crimes.
Sources: Egyptian Ministry of Defense, Combined Maritime Forces, Al Ahram