Thursday, April 8, 2010

Singapore's VT Halter Lays Egyptian Keel

Defense News


Singapore's VT Halter Lays Egyptian Keel

Wendell Minnick

TAIPEI - Singapore-owned VT Halter Marine laid the keel for the first of four Egyptian Navy stealthy Fast Missile Craft (FMC) vessels during a ceremony April 7 at a shipbuilding facility in Pascagoula, Miss.

The $807 million contract will provide the Egyptian Navy with four FMCs designed to perform coastal patrol, surveillance, interdiction, surface strike and naval battle group support. The U.S. Navy is procuring the ships for Egypt.

VT Halter, a subsidiary of ST Engineering, finalized the contractual portion for the fourth vessel in March for $165 million. The first FMC is scheduled for delivery in mid-2012 with final delivery of the last vessel in 2013, an ST Engineering source said.

"They were modeled after the Vospar Hull," the source said, and are "750 metric tons and 64 meters in length."

Weapons include a 76mm cannon forward and a 20mm Phalanx close-in weapons system aft.

"The vessels will also incorporate numerous combat system assets and electronic sensors, equipping the vessels with capabilities in anti-aircraft, anti-surface and electronic warfare," said a statement released by ST Engineering.

"The U.S. Navy's procurement of these ships for our Egyptian partners represents a commitment to continued cooperation between the United States and Egypt," said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Bill Landay, program executive officer for ships. Vice Adm. Mohab Mameesh represented the Egyptian Navy at the ceremony.

VT Halter Marine builds a variety of military and commercial vessels. In 2009, the company won an $87 million contract to build an enhanced version of a T-AGS 60-class oceanographic survey ship for the U.S. Navy. In 2006, the company won a $199 million contract for the design and construction of a T-AGM missile range instrumentation ship for the U.S. Navy.