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Egypt’s fourth German-built S-44 submarine arrived at its Alexandria naval station on Monday, according to the Egyptian Navy. 

In a statement, Egyptian Armed Forces spokesperson Gharib Abdel Hafez said, “This latest addition to Egyptian naval forces represents a huge reinforcement for the capabilities of the Egyptian army, which will contribute to the protection of the country’s economic resources in the Mediterranean and Red seas, as well as the Suez Canal.”

The Egyptian Navy and German manufacturer ThyssenKrupp signed a deal in 2011 for two diesel-electric submarines, with an additional two added in 2015.

According to German news source Deutsche-Presse Agentur, Egypt paid €1.4 billion (US $1.7 billion) for the four submarines, with the first two contracts valued around €900 million and the second deal worth more than €500 million.

Cairo only has four old Chinese Type 033 Romeo-class submarines, in addition to the S-44 boats. 

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor and Economic Minister, met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo in April 2016, pledging Germany’s assistance in improving Egypt’s border security.

“During this visit, the Egyptian administration did not request a weapons contract from Germany, but there was conversation about sending two navy submarines. At the news conference, Gabriel stated, “We are ready to completely work with Egypt to safeguard its borders with Libya.”

Egypt is building its submarine fleet to retain its place in the region’s naval power balance, according to Mohamed al-Kenany, who heads the military research unit at the Cairo-based Arab Forum for Analyzing Iranian Policies.

Many countries in the area are beefing up their submarine forces. He stated, “Egypt would not be happy with four submarines from Germany.” “With the rising problems of securing navigation as well as combating terrorism and arms and terrorists smuggling, Egypt has to strengthen this capability since it has two fleets: the Northern Fleet in the Mediterranean and the Southern Fleet in the Red Sea.

The S-44 submarine has a length of 62 meters. It is 6.2 meters in diameter and weighs 1450 tons on the surface. It has eight weapon tubes and a crew of 30 people.

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