Saudi Arabia Blocks Purchase of German MEKO A-200 Corvettes by Egypt

Saudi Arabia has blocked the purchase of German MEKO A-200 corvettes by Egypt due to the further deterioration of diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Berlin, French publication LATribune reported.

The €2 billion contract, signed mid-September, between the Egyptian Ministry of Defense and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) was funded by Saudi Arabia. Initially the agreement was reportedly for two corvettes manufactured in Germany, but the contract signed was for four MEKO A-200s, with one manufactured in Egypt.

Saudi Arabia finances a large majority of Egypt’s arms acquisitions and reportedly have vetoed the procuremnet of German vessels. The relation between Riyadh and Berlin had gone downhill following the controversy surrounding the death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist critical of the government, at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia is also reviewing the procurement of Airbus A330 MRTT refueling aircraft, Typhoon fighter aircraft and Lürssen patrol boats.

The MEKO A-200 is a class of general-purpose frigates/corvettes developed by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).

The vessels have a length of 121 m, a maximum beam of 16.3 m, a draught of 4.4 m and a displacement of around 3,700 tonnes. They have a maximum speed of around 29 knots and a range of 7,200 nm at a cruising speed of 16 knots. The MEKO A-200 has a crew complement of 100-120 and has a flight deck with hanger capable of embarking a 5 tonne helicopter.

This frigate features the revolutionary CODAG-WARP (water jet and refined propellers) propulsion system: two CPP propeller shafts driven by cross-connectable diesel engines plus a center-line, gas turbine-driven water jet, combining the power of each drive in the water with no need for a combining gearbox. This arrangement allows for extremely quiet acoustic signatures, a high degree of propulsion redundancy, and damage survivability. In the diesel-only mode this propulsion arrangement is also an extremely economic solution, as a single engine can drive both shafts for speeds of up to 18 knots.

The warship is capable of full 4-dimensional warfare – Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Biological and Chemical Warfare (BCW). The MEKO A-200 is also designed for sustained operations across the full spectrum of general missions and tasks: patrol and interdiction, support of special force operations, search and rescue (SAR), and humanitarian operations.

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