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Egypt to Rebuild Its Air Force

Monday, November 14, 2016 16:43
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(Before It's News)

Egypt to Rebuild Its Air Force
(Source: TASS Defense; published Nov 11, 2016)
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/feature/178725/russia-sees-opportunities-as-egypt-rebuilds-its-air-force.html

MOSCOW — Egypt might acquire new combat aircraft, including the
Russian-originated ones to recapitalize its fighter fleet, according to the
IHS Jane`s think-tank.

“Egypt appears to be poised to commit to the procurement of nearly 50
fourth-generation+ fighters from Russia, perhaps one of the final stages of
the recapitalization of its fighter inventory,” Reed Foster, a defense
analyst with IHS Jane`s said.

According to the Military Balance 2016 report issued by the International
Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Egyptian Air Force operates 584
fixed-wing aircraft, including 26 F-16A Fighting Falcon, 6 F-16B Fighting
Falcon, about 30 J-7, 29 F-4E Phantom II, 139 F-16C Fighting Falcon, 38
F-16D Fighting Falcon, 3 Mirage 2000B, 15 Mirage 2000C, 36 Mirage 5D/E, 12
Mirage 5E/2, about 50 MiG-21/MiG-21U (Fishbed/Mongol M, respectively), 3
Rafale DM multirole fighter jets, 2 VC-130H Hercules and 4 Beech 1900
electronic intelligence planes, 6 Mirage 5R/5SDR
intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, 7 E-2C Hawkeye
airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) planes, 21 C-130H Hercules, 3
C-130H-30 Hercules, 3 Antonov An-74TK-200A, 1 Beech 200 King Air, 4 Beech
1900C, 8 C-295M, 9 DHC-5 Buffalo military transport aircraft, 1 Boeing
707-366C, 3 Falcon 20, 2 Gulfstream III, 1 Gulfstream IV, 4 Gulfstream IV-SP
airliners, 36 Alpha Jet, 54 EMB-312 Tucano, 74 Grob 115EG, 120 K-8
Karakorum, 10 L-39 Albatros, and 35 L-59E Albatros trainers.

Therefore, the service does not have cutting-edge combat aircraft at
present. A total of about 90 legacy Mikoyan MiG-21 and J-7 (a Chinese copy
of the MiG-21 fighter) combat aircraft still remain active. They should be
equipped with modern air-launched weaponry, defensive aids, sensors,
targeting packages, refurbished engines, etc.

“Russian defense and industry representatives have repeatedly insisted that
a complement of modern Russian-built multirole aircraft is required to
replace ageing Soviet-era platforms, but questions remain as to how such
aircraft would be placed into the current and future mosaic of Egyptian
requirements,” the analyst said.

According to IHS Jane’s, the Egyptian Air Force is rapidly upgrading its
inventory. The service has received 20 F-16C/D fighters. The supplies of the
Rafale combat aircraft by French Dassault Aviation have already commenced
this year; the Military Balance 2016 notes that Egypt’s Air Force has
introduced at least three Rafale multirole fighter jets. F-16C/Ds and
Rafales will replace the ageing US- and French-originated platforms in the
service`s inventory.

IHS Jane’s supposes that Egypt may acquire Russian-originated MiG-29M/M2
(NATO reporting name: Fulcrum) multirole fighter jets. “The size, scope, and
certainty of the Russian aircraft procurement is far from secured, as
Russian defense and industry officials have alluded to a contract of
significance with Egypt since early 2014.

The type of aircraft to be procured has oscillated between an advanced
variant of the MiG-29 [MiG-29M; M stands for Upgraded, Modernizirovanny] and
the latest iteration of the MiG-29 family, [namely] the MiG-35. As the
MiG-35 is still undergoing initial flight trials and qualification for the
Russian Aerospace Forces (Russian acronym: VKS, Vozdushno-Kosmicheskie
Sily), the more likely option for Egypt would appear to be an advanced
version, MiG-29M, in most respects a MiG-35 in all but name.

Both aircraft feature the same RD-33MK (MK stands for Upgraded, Commercial;
Modernizirovanny, Kommercheskiy) engines also utilized on India’s MiG-29Ks
[ship-borne fighters], improved flight avionics, electronic countermeasures,
targeting systems, and the ability to employ nearly the entire array of
modern Russian air-launched munitions,” Reed Foster pointed out. However,
the Egypt`s public commitment to acquire the Russian-originated fighters is
‘elusive’, the analyst added. ‘[Cairo’s] requirement to modernize the
fighter fleet has only become more acute in recent years. The security of
the Middle East has continued to deteriorate’ [the recent] balance has
challenged the status quo long-established by the United States and allied
Gulf monarchies,” Foster emphasized.

According to IHS Jane’s, the MiG-29M fighter is well-suitable for the
Egyptian Air Force. “The MiG-29M has the capacity to carry more
air-to-ground [munitions] than the F-16 Fighting Falcon, similar to that of
the Rafale. The advanced targeting and guided air-to-ground weapons
integrated with the MiG fighter are similar to their Western counterparts,
with the KAB-series (Guided Air-Launched Bomb; Korrektiruyemaya Aviabomba)
guided bombs broadly similar to US-originated Paveway and French-originated
Hammer AASM (Armement Air-Sol Modulaire). All would be considered sufficient
for ground attack missions against separatist forces in the Sinai or in
regional intervention missions in which Egypt participates, although the
Russian-originated systems would likely be available at a lower price…

The ability for the MiG-29M [multirole fighter jet] be equipped with modern
infrared search-and-track and electronic countermeasures [ESM] payloads
would increase the survivability of the aircraft over its predecessors if
Egypt decided to conduct missions in contested areas. [It should be noted
that] the requirement for both munitions and communication and sensor
systems that can operate in EW-contested environment remains actual. Several
Russian-designed airborne systems have been developed for operating in such
environments, benefiting from advances made within Russian industry in the
development of offensive and defensive EW systems,” the analyst pointed out.

The IHS Jane’s think-tank supposes that the potential Egyptian requirement
for MiG-29M fighters may be pre-conditioned by both political and technical
considerations. “Despite lacking significant international or domestic
orders in the near term, Russia is likely keen on retaining the production
capacity and aeronautical expertise of Mikoyan, and will likely ensure that
any deal with Egypt for MiG-29M aircraft is provided with exceptional value
to the Egyptian government. Although there is little economic advantage to
maintaining a fleet principally consisting of three aircraft from three
suppliers in separate supplier countries, the surety of supply provided
through diversification of Egypt’s supply base is likely to be judged worth
the logistical and economic burdens imposed,” Foster emphasized.

“Overall, the performance and capability enhancements that the MiG-29M will
offer Egypt over additional F-16Cs or Rafales are few, with most advantages
being geopolitical, economic, and logistical. The estimated lower
cost-per-flight hour and maintenance and upgrade packages likely make it a
less risky proposition in uncertain economic times. However, despite the
lack of any truly outstanding characteristics over the existing and future
Egyptian inventory, the MiG-29M [fully] fulfills the requirements for a
flexible multirole fighter capable of being employed upon a range of
missions for which the Egyptian Air Force will likely be charged. Key
performance characteristics of the aircraft are suitable for current and
near-term capability requirements and continued investment in and
development of future avionics, radar, and munitions by Russian industry
will likely enable the MiG-29M to remain a functional and relevant addition
to the Egyptian air inventory for some time to come,” the analyst concluded.

The RSK MiG corporation (a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation,
OAK) has not confirmed the aforementioned information.

According to the official technical specification issued by the RSK MiG
company, the MiG-29M single-seat fighter has a normal take-off-weight of
19,200 kg, a maximum take-off weight of 26,500 kg, a maximum speed near
ground of 1,400 km/h, a maximum airspeed of 2,100 km/h, a service ceiling of
16,000 m, a maximum airframe acceleration of 8-9G, and a ferry range of
1,800-2,000 km without additional fuel tanks and 2,800-3,000 km with three
additional fuel tanks. MiG-29M features nine hardpoints for air-launched
weapons.

The fighter can fire RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder), R-27R1/R-27EhR1 (AA-10 Alamo),
R-27T1/R-27EhT1 (AA-10 Alamo), and R-73Eh (AA-11 Archer) air-to-air (AA)
missiles, Kh-29L (AS-14 Kedge), Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton), Kh-35Eh (AS-20
Kayak), and Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) air-to-surface (AS) missiles, KAB-500Kr
smart bombs, S-8 unguided rockets, and 100-500 kg free-fall bombs. The
fighter features single GSh-30-1 30 mm aircraft automatic cannon. The
MiG-29M aircraft is powered by two Klimov RD-33MK jet engine with a take-off
thrust of 9,000 kgf each.

The MiG-29M2 twin-seat variant of the fighter has a normal take-off-weight
of 19,000 kg, a maximum take-off weight of 26,500 kg, a maximum speed near
ground of 1,400 km/h, a maximum airspeed of 2,100 km/h, a service ceiling of
16,200 m, a maximum airframe acceleration of 8-9G, and a ferry range of
1,600-1,700 km without additional fuel tanks and 2,650-2,700 km with three
additional fuel tanks. The MiG-29M2 combat aircraft features nine hardpoints
for air-launched weapons.

The fighter can fire RVV-AE (AA-12 Adder), R-27R1/R-27EhR1 (AA-10 Alamo),
R-27T1/R-27EhT1 (AA-10 Alamo), and R-73Eh (AA-11 Archer) air-to-air (AA)
missiles, Kh-29L (AS-14 Kedge), Kh-31A (AS-17 Krypton), Kh-35Eh (AS-20
Kayak), and Kh-31P (AS-17 Krypton) air-to-surface (AS) missiles, KAB-500Kr
smart bombs, S-8 unguided rockets, and 100-500 kg free-fall bombs. The
fighter features single GSh-30-1 30 mm aircraft automatic cannon. The
MiG-29M aircraft is powered by two Klimov RD-33MK jet engine with a take-off
thrust of 9,000 kgf each.

-ends-

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