The US Navy has launched the first Egyptian Navy Fast Missile Craft (FMC) from VT Halter Marine’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, US.

The FMC is primarily designed to perform independent and joint operations against armed surface threats.

The Egyptian Navy will use the vessels for patrolling and to defend its coastal waterways in the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and, in particular, the Suez Canal.

The 63m-long, high-speed, agile craft can carry a 76mm Super Rapid Gun, Harpoon Block II missiles, MK49 rolling airframe missiles and the Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) Block 1B.

The first FMC will join the Egyptian naval fleet in 2012 while construction on the fourth vessel is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013.

The four-vessel contract represents an $807m deal for VT Halter.