Egypt Diversifies its Arms Suppliers


2015-01-20  Egypt is interested in procuring 20 Rafale fighter jets as well as two FREMM frigates from France in a potential deal worth nearly six billion euros.

French newspaper La Tribune reported that France has offered two DCNS FREMM multi-mission frigates worth 1.8 billion euros and 20 Dassault Rafales worth 3.6 billion euros, with representatives from the companies visiting Egypt this week to promote the deal.

La Tribune quotes ‘reliable sources’ as saying the deals could be finalised soon, with contracts signed in the coming weeks. MBDA would supply missiles for both the ships and aircraft.

Egypt apparently expressed interest in up to 24 Rafales in September last year during a visit by French defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. The country had originally shown interest in the Rafale in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

Rafale Fighter, Credit: defenceWeb
Rafale Fighter, Credit: defenceWeb

The Egyptian military has fairly close ties with France, and operates French equipment such as vehicles and around 18 Mirage 2000 fighters. The country recently ordered four Gowind 2500 corvettes from France, which will deliver one and build the remaining three in Egypt.

As a result of the U.S. suspension of some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid following the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi by the military in July 2013, Egypt has looked elsewhere to meet its military needs, notably Russia. In September, Alexander Fomin, Russia’s chief of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said Egypt had agreed to a $3.5 billion arms deal that includes fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, submarines and other equipment.

Russian defense industry official Sergei Chemezov earlier told RIA Novosti that arms exports to Egypt would include deliveries of small arms, air defence systems and artillery.

Russia earlier expressed interest in MiG-29/35 fighters, Mi-35 attack helicopters and other hardware.

Presumably part of the deal, Egypt is buying S-300VM air defense systems from Almaz Antey for around $500 million. This is according to Russian daily Vedomosti.

The Fontanka newspaper earlier this month reported that a factory in St Petersburg was building 22 tracked vehicles used with the S-300VM for an unidentified foreign customer.

Reprinted with the permission of our partner defenceWeb