VESSEL REVIEW | Al-Aziz – Egyptian Navy missile frigate boasts low observability technology

Photo: Sesemann
Photo: Sesemann

German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) has delivered the lead ship of a new class of frigates ordered by the Egyptian Navy.

The future ENS Al-Aziz and its three sisters are variants of the MEKO A-200 frigates that were originally developed by German defence firms for the export market. Missions will include anti-surface warfare, anti-air warfare, patrol, interdiction, and humanitarian response.

The ship has a length of 118 metres, a beam of 14.8 metres, a draught of 4.3 metres, and a crew complement of 220. The design guarantees significantly reduced radar, infrared, acoustic, and magnetic signatures to minimise the risk of detection. Features such as an advanced shell design, extensive bulwark screening of exposed equipment, flush-closing shell doors, and screening of all shell openings give the frigate a much smaller radar cross-section compared to ships of similar size.

Power is provided by a combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion arrangement that consists of a GE LM2500 gas turbine and two MTU 12V1163 TB83 diesel engines driving two controllable-pitch propellers. This configuration enables the frigate to reach a maximum speed of 32 knots or sail for up to 6,000 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 18 knots.


Due to the absence of a funnel, and with all combustion engine exhaust being redirected horizontally on or below the waterline via active cooling, the ship also boasts a small infrared signature. The size and weight of the propellers and the aft-sighting of the propulsion machinery meanwhile help generate low noise while underway.

The frigate is also fitted with an active tri-axial degaussing system to reduce its magnetic signature.

The monohull design was developed to ensure improved seakeeping and mobility. The hull features a forefoot skeg to reduce yawing and improve directional stability in a seaway while active fin stabilisers help ensure the safe execution of helicopter and boat operations in conditions up to Sea State six. A covered forecastle and high freeboard provide additional buoyancy and help reduce both spray and slamming to allow high-speed transits even in heavy seas.

The frigate's armament includes a Leonardo 127mm naval gun, 30mm autocannons, 16 Exocet anti-ship missiles, and 32 MICA surface-to-air missiles. A Thales NS-110 4D active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and Rheinmetall Defence decoy launchers are also fitted.

Two other Al-Aziz-class frigates will be built in Germany while the fourth frigate will be constructed by Alexandria Shipyard in Egypt.

<em>Photo: Degner</em>
Photo: Degner
ENS Al-Aziz
Type of vessel:Frigate
Owner:Egyptian Navy
Builder:ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Germany
Length overall:118 metres
Beam:14.8 metres
Draught:4.3 metres
Main engines:GE LM2500; 2 x MTU 12V1163 TB83
Propulsion:2 x controllable-pitch propellers
Maximum speed:32 knots
Cruising speed:18 knots
Range:6,000 nautical miles
Radar:Thales NS-110 4D
Armaments:Leonardo 127mm naval gun; 30mm autocannons; Exocet anti-ship missiles; MICA surface-to-air missiles
Other equipment installed:Degaussing system; Rheinmetall Defence decoy launchers; fin stabilisers
Type of fuel:Diesel

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