Egypt Continues Air Force Modernization


2017-04-06 According to defenceWeb, Egypt has received more Rafales and is preparing to induct upgraded Mig 29s or Mig 35D into their Air Force.

The Egyptian Air Force received three more Rafales from Dassault on 4 April, and is preparing to introduce MiG-29s into service soon, with the first seen undergoing test flights in Egyptian colours.

The Egyptian Air Force now operates nine Rafales, out of 24 ordered from France, according to the Middle East Monitor.

Rafales in Egyptian colors. Credit: Dassaut

An Egyptian two seat Rafale left Dassault Aviation’s assembly line in mid-December last year ahead of delivery. It was the first built completely for Egypt as the previous six were intended for the French Air Force and modified for Egypt.

At a 2016 financial results press conference in March this year, Dassault said it will deliver one Rafale to France and eight to Egypt this year, compared to six to France and three to Egypt in 2016. Deliveries of the remaining ten aircraft are scheduled to take place over the next two years. They include 16 Rafale DM two seaters and eight Rafale EM single seaters.

The first Egyptian Rafales were delivered on 20 July 2015, allowing them to take part in the opening of the expanded Suez Canal in August, and the next three on 28 January 2016. They are in service with 34 Squadron of 203 Tactical Fighter Wing.

Meanwhile, the first Egyptian MiG-29 (811) was seen in full Egyptian markings taking off from Zhukovsky Air Base in Russia near the beginning of April. Deliveries are set to conclude by no later than 2020, according to Russian state-run news agency Sputnik.

The 50 MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets being acquired by Egypt from Russia’s RAC MiG will be equipped with OLS-EU infrared search and track systems, PPK targeting pods and MSP electronic warfare systems, allowing them to carry precision guided munitions. Rosoboronexport signed the deal in April 2015.

The MiG-29M (and two seat MiG-29M2) is an improved version of the MiG-29 featuring longer range due to increased internal fuel, a lighter airframe, slightly more powerful and improved RD-33MK engines, an in-flight refuelling probe, multi-function displays in the cockpit and improved avionics.

Republished with permission of our partner defenceWeb

According to story in Quwa, the first Egyptian Mig29M2s or Mig-35s were spotted in Egyptian colors in early April.

Photos of the Egyptian Air Force’s (EAF) first Mikoyan MiG-29M2 (or MiG-35D) multi-role fighter recently emerged, showing the twin-seat unit the aircraft number of 811.

Rosonboronexport inked a U.S. $2 billion sale of 50 MiG-29M/M2 or MiG-35 to Egypt in 2016, with Russia confirming that the sale was to Egypt in April 2016. Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG (RAC MiG) reportedly said that the first aircraft will be delivered to Egypt in 2017, with the remainder due by 2020. Egypt’s MiGs entered production in June of last year.

The MiG-29M/M2 is a major development of the legacy MiG-29, boasting design changes to the airframe, improved turbofans in the RD-33MK (which is similar in weight to the RD-33, but benefits from a higher thrust rating and full-authority digital engine control), fly-by-wire flight control system, updated avionics and Zhuk-ME pulse-Doppler radar. The MiG-29K/KUB is the naval variant of the MiG-29M/M2.

Egyptian MiG-29M2 (or MiG-35). Photo credit: Dmitri Terekhov

The MiG-35 is directly based on the MiG-29M/M2; whilst retaining the engines and airframe, the MiG-35 is equipped with the Zhuk-AE active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar. RAC MiG and its parent company United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) launched the MiG-35 in January of this year, positioning the fighter as an affordable high-tech multi-role fighter suitable for the developing world.

Earlier news reports of Egypt’s Fulcrum purchases claimed that the EAF would be procuring MiG-35s. This has not been confirmed, especially since the MiG-35 is undergoing tests in Russia.

Besides the Fulcrum, Egypt also has 46 Kamov Ka-52K attack helicopters on order from Russia. These Ka-52Ks will begin joining Egypt’s inventory in 2017. Analysts believe the Ka-52Ks will be deployed from the Egyptian Navy’s newly acquired Gamal Abdel Nasser-class landing helicopter docks.