Formerly known as "Emilio Bianchi", the frigate has been named: BERNEES (FFG 1003)
According to our information, the sea trials of Bernees started on (or shortly before) 15 February, date when the pictures were taken in La Spezia, where the Fincantieri shipyard is located (Muggiano). This marked the first time the vessel went to sea with Egyptian markings.
The delivery date of Bernees has not been publicly disclosed, but it will likely take place in the coming weeks. The first vessel, Al Galala (FFG 1002) left La Spezia on 25 December and arrived in Alexandria on 30 December.
As we reported at the time, the hand-over of Al Galala to the Egyptian Navy which took place on 22 December 2020 was preceded by crew familiarization activities/support of the personnel with the Italian Navy and industrial support. Therefore the ongoing sea trials of Bernees may fulfill a similar role.
As was the case for the first frigate, some electronic countermeasures systems (EW suite’s jammers, NETTUNO-4100 RECM system and Thales Altesse CESM equipment) and some communication aerials have been disembarked. Apart from that, no major change is visible compared to the original FREMM design.
For the record, the contract for the transfer of the two FREMM frigates to Egypt, reportedly quoted at circa €1.2 billion, without further information on the inclusion of the training and support package, is expected to include options for two additional new-built frigates, as the programme regarded four platforms, according to industrial sources. A separate deal or part of the same contractual agreement is the supply of smaller patrol vessel to be built locally under a technological transfer package. The naval package is reported as part of a wider deal to be signed with Italian industries and including Eurofighter Typhoon combat fighters and Leonardo M-346 dual-role attack/advanced trainers, space platform and weapon systems.
For more details, check out our article about Al Galala (FFG 1002):