Friendship Bridge-2020 Joint Exercise Concluded

The events of the Russian-Egyptian exercise Bridge of Friendship-2020 ended today. Tomorrow, a detachment of ships of the Egyptian Navy leaves the port of Novorossiysk and sets a course for the Black Sea straits. The exercise between the Russian Navy and the Egyptian Navy Bridge of the Friendship has been held since 2015.

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The New Defence Order. Strategy spoke to Sameh El-Gallad, an Egyptian military and defence blogger, about the Bridge of Friendship-2020 Exercise.

"The Bridge of Friendship-2020 manoeuvres aim at enhancing military cooperation between the Egyptian and Russian Navies, exchanging experiences in order to achieve security and stability within their maritime borders, and protect their economic interests by reaching the highest readiness and training on the latest military tactics in the world in maritime confrontations," said El-Gallad.

The detachment of ships of the Egyptian Navy included, frigate Alexandria, the corvette El-Fateh and the missile boat M. Fahmi. From the Russian side, the crews of the frigate Admiral Makarov, the small missile ship Orekhovo-Zuevo, the patrol ship Dmitry Rogachev and the rescue tugboat Professor Nikolai Muru were involved in the exercise.

Between 17-24 November, the Russian-Egyptian exercise Bridge of Friendship 2020 was held for the first time in the Black Sea, including onshore and offshore phases. During the manoeuvres of ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy and the Egyptian Navy, the two naval forces practiced all types of protection and defence of ships with the execution of firing at surface and air targets. Private exercises were held to organise resupply at sea by traverse, to practice screening operations against suspicious ships, and to help a ship in distress to find and rescue a drowning man.

El-Gallad belives that the time and location of this exercise "send out a strong and decisive political message for some countries that are working to stir up problems in the Middle East."

About the importance of this exercise in the Russia-Egypt relations, El-Gallad said that this exercise "is evident on the depth of the Egyptian-Russian relations, which have become stronger since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi assumed the political leadership in Egypt in 2014. Many military deals have been signed between the two sides, including most branches of the Egyptian armed forces. Such deals have included the Egyptian armed forces, including the air force, air defence forces, ground forces, electronic warfare techniques, and the naval forces."

The coastal preparatory phase of the joint exercise of the Naval Forces of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Russian Navy Bridge of Friendship  2020 took place in the hero-city of Novorossiysk.

Both naval forces did trainings on communications between the participating ships. The key event of the onshore phase of the Russian-Egyptian naval exercise was the pre-voyage conference on November 19. It was attended by representatives of the joint command headquarters of the exercise, commanders and officers of the ships.

Bridge of Friendship-2020 exercise included cultural events, excursions to the sights of the hero-city of Novorossiysk were organised for Egyptian and Russian sailors, taking into account the anti-epidemic requirements in force in the region.

At the final summarising conference, representatives of the joint leadership of the exercise from both sides recognised Friendship Bridge exercise as valid and successful, despite difficult hydrometeorological conditions.

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