Egypt has taken delivery of all its MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets from Russia and has started receiving it’s two dozen Su-35 fighters.
According to Russian sources, five Su-35s were delivered to Egypt in 2020, from an order of 24 Su-35S fighters signed in 2018/19, with delivery to be completed by 2023.
Twelve Egyptian Air Force (EAF) Su-35s have been spotted in satellite imagery outside the Komsomolks-on-Amur plant ahead of delivery.
Egypt signed a $2 billion deal for the supply of around two dozen Russian Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft in March 2018, despite the threat of US sanctions, straining relations between Cairo and Washington. Thus, making it the second country after China to acquire the Su-35, the most advanced 4th generation jets in Russian inventory.
Manufacture of Su-35 fighter jets for Egypt began in May 2020 at the JSC Sukhoi factory in Komsomolsk Sur Amour in the Russian Far East. In response to the sale, the US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Egypt against buying Russian Su-35 fighter jets, declaring that the US could enact sanctions on Egypt through the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) against Egypt.
CAATSA requires the US to sanction anyone conducting transactions with the Russian intelligence and military services, including arms manufacturers.
Likewise, Egypt ordered 50 MiG-29M/M2 aircraft in 2015, with deliveries between 2017 and 2020.
The Egyptian Air Force MiG-29 was spotted in September 2017 at RAC MiGs production plant at Lukhovitsy, wearing a new unique Ash and Grey paint scheme reminisce of the Yom Kippor war era. This type of camouflage are optimized for ground attack aircraft to protect them from aerial attacks by high-flying interceptors aircraft.
The MiG-29M/M2 fighters sold by Russia to Egypt were delivered together with aerial refueling equipment, allowing the use of MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets as air tankers.
On 15 January last year, the EAF released a footage of more than a dozen Egyptian MiG-29 Fulcrums taking off at the same time, as part of a readiness exercise.
The exercise named Qadir-2020 involved a “show of force” with sixteen MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets in a so-called “Elephant Walk.”
The Su-35S, is Russia’s most advanced operational fighter, where it has been flying combat missions against the Islamic State and anti-government rebels. Russian has placed orders for a total of 98 aircraft, the last of which are due for delivery later this year.
The aircraft is a heavily upgraded 4++ generation supermaneuverable multipurpose fighter jet developed from the legacy Su-27 fighter jet.
The aircraft features several fifth-generation technologies, and is distinguished by its new avionics suite based on the information control system, a new radar, and plasma ignition engines of the increased capacity and thrust vectoring.
With 12 to 14 weapon hard points, the Su-35 is able to use K-77M radar-guided missiles that reportedly have a range of almost 200km, and and supersonic Kh-31 (AS-17 ‘Krypton’) Air-To-Surface missile.
The jet is also armed with a 30mm cannon with 150 rounds for strafing or dogfighting. The Su-35 can reportedly carry up to 8,000kg of air-to-ground munitions.
Egypt also received 300 R-73 and 300 R-77 beyond visual range air-to-air missiles for the MiG-29M/M2 fighters according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) arms transfers database,.
Egypt lost a MiG-29 during a training flight in November 2018 and another crashed during what was described as a routine training mission in December 2019. The pilots survived both crashes after ejecting safely. Two new MiG-29ss were delivered in 2020 as compensation for those that crashed due to technical malfunctions.
Russian aircraft maker MiG Corporation this year announced that it was introducing two major advanced upgrades for its sophisticated MiG-29/35 multirole fighter jet family, which could enhance the combat operations capabilities of both MiG-29M/M2 and the brand-new MiG-35.
According to an informed Russian source who told Military Africa, aircraft and helicopters form the important part of the military exports to Africa’s Sub-Saharan countries, with the MiG-29M/M2 being one of the most hopeful products.
Egypt is the world’s third-biggest arms importer after Saudi Arabia and India, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
In May, Egypt signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 30 additional Rafale fighter jets worth 3.75 billion euro ($4.5 billion) to complements the 24 Rafales acquired six years ago, thereby bringing the total number of Rafales in the Egyptian Air Force to 54.
The Egyptian Air Force operates the MBDA SCALP EG long-range cruise missile, and Talios targeting system on it’s Rafale and Mirage 2000 fleet.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Air Force is in the market for new advanced trainer aircraft to prepare it’s pilots for the Rafale and Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 multirole aircraft.