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Egypt’s Most Capable Aerial Warfare Assets

The SC

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December-15th-2019

Egypt's aerial warfare capabilities today are one of the most formidable in Africa, deploying the largest fighter fleet on the continent with a range of Soviet, American, Chinese, European and Russian systems alongside a multi layered integrated air defence network of primarily Russian origin. Egypt's position in the field of aerial warfare relative to its neighbours, and to Saudi Arabia, Israel and Algeria in particular, had declined considerably from the 1980s as the country came to rely almost exclusively on arms from the United States. The U.S. denied Egypt access to a range of systems needed to maintain parity with its neighbours, most notably F-15 Eagle heavyweight air superiority fighters which were sold in large numbers to Israel and Saudi Arabia from the 1970s and 1980s respectively. Egypt's large fleet of lightweight F-16 Fighting Falcons was also denied access to modern AIM-120 air to air missiles - making it among the least capable for air to air combat alongside the much smaller F-16 fleets of Iraq and Venezuela which also lack a viable long range air too air capability. Egypt's aerial warfare capabilities have seriously improved since the overthrow of its Western aligned government in 2013, with the country's new military led government making major investments in advanced weapons systems primarily of Russian origin. These have included assets the country has been want for lack of for decades, from modern long range air to air missiles such as the R-77 with active radar guidance to high end air superiority fighters of similar weight to the F-15 and advanced long range surface to air missile systems. An assessment of Egypt's most capable aerial warfare assets is given below.


S-300VM Surface to Air Missile Battery

S-300V4

Egypt placed an order for the S-300V4 long range surface to air missile system in 2013 alongside complementary BuK-M2 medium ranged and Tor-M2 short ranged systems. The platform is the most modern of its kind in Russian service, having entered service in the early 2010s and integrating many of the same technologies as the older S-400 system. The S-300V4 follows on from the S-300VM, and is designed to prioritise mobility and anti missile capabilities with a tracked launch vehicle as opposed to the S-400’s wheeled vehicles. The platform is capable of deploying the same long range hypersonic missiles as the S-400 system, including the 40N6E prized for its ability to engage targets at all altitudes at extreme ranges of up to 400km. The S-300V4's ability to redeploy rapidly is particularly valuable for Egypt’s armed forces, which are prohibited from deploying advanced weapons systems to the Sinai Peninsula, with missile batteries capable of quickly being stationed on the peninsula to accompany ground troops in the event of conflict.



E-2 Hawkeye AWACS Platforms

E-2 Hawkeye

The E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and control system is capable of tracking several hundred aircraft simultaneously, and able to provide valuable intelligence on the positions of enemy assets and targeting information for friendly missiles. The platform is also capable of guiding friendly missiles from F-16, Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighters to their targets at range, which in the case of the first two is particularly valuable due to the relative weakness of their own sensors. The Hawkeye can serve as a vital force multiplier for Egypt’s fighter fleet, although as the service moves to rely more heavily on Russian fighter jets its usefulness may become more limited.

https://egyptwatch.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/1.jpg

Su-35 '4++ Generation' Air Superiority Fighter

Su-35S

The Su-35 will provide the Egyptian Air Force with an asset it has sought since the mid 1970s - a heavyweight air superiority fighter capable of contesting air superiority fighter on the same level as the Israeli F-15 Eagles. While Egypt was consistently refused the F-15, and its previously alignment with the United States prevented it from acquiring its Russian analogue the Su-27, the Su-35 has few rivals in its air to air capabilities. The fighter is capable of outperforming all those deployed by neighbouring states, and even if no followup order is placed just 20 or so of these jets can shift the balance of power strongly in Egypt’s favour. The fighter’s powerful Irbis-E radar, R-37M hypersonic air to air missiles, three dimensional thrust vectoring engines and radar cross section reducing high composite airframe among other attributes all contribute to making the fighter by far the most capable in the Egyptian inventory.



Egyptian Air Force Rafale '4+ Generation' Medium Fighters

Rafale

Egypt was the first confirmed export client for the French Rafale medium weight fighter, which combines a powerful AESA radar with advanced electronic warfare systems. The fighter’s air to air engagement range is nevertheless limited, relying on the French MICA missile which is considerably shorter ranged than the American AIM-120C and Russian R-77 - much less the R-37M of the Su-35. While the Rafale is compatible with the Meteor missile, French fighters have only just begun to integrate these missiles and it is likely to be some time before Egypt is provided with the munitions. By this time, it is likely that neighbouring Israel will be preparing to deploy similarly or more advanced missiles such as the AIM-120D or AIM-260, meaning any advantage the Rafale may have provided will be limited.


Egyptian Air Force MiG-29M with K-77 Air to Air and Kh-38 Cruise Missiles and T-220 Targeting Pod

MiG-29M

Egypt placed a major order for 50 MiG-29M fighters in 2013 alongside a wide range of munitions from Kh-38 cruise missiles to R-77 active radar guided air to air missiles. These have provided the country with modern long range air to air missiles for the first time in decades. The jets inherit the advanced air to air combat capabilities of the original Soviet MiG-29 design, but have extended ranges and integrate superior sensors and electronic warfare systems making them highly formidable despite their modest price. The aircraft's R-77 and R-27ER air to air missiles allow them to outrange the F-15 and F-16 fighters deployed by neighbouring Israel, and are expected to be supplemented by further batches of Russian medium weight fighters in future - namely the MIG-35.


https://militarywatchmagazine.com/article/egypt-s-most-capable-aerial-warfare-assets


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BUK-M2 Medium range


Tor-M2 Short range
 
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The SC

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We can safely add the Wing Loong



In 2016, China’s Xinhua news agency reported that Egypt had requested the integration of a Model YJ-203 Ku-Band synthetic aperture and moving target indicator radar on its Wing Loong UAVs. This was required to allow the detection of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and roadside mines, and to detect and track moving vehicles.

Wing Loong 1D UAV


In November 2018, it was announced that Egypt would purchase 32 new Wing Loong 1D UAVs. The 1D variant has increased wingspan – up from 14 meters to 17.8 meters – with a higher maximum take-off weight, and with payload doubled to 400kg.

Wing Loong, which is armed with China's Blue Arrow-7 laser-guided missiles, is set to detect military combat aircrafts. In addition to the military functions, Wing Loong has the capability to perform civilian tasks such as disaster assessment, meteorological operations and environmental protection.
 

Gomig-21

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Don't forget the Beechcraft with their recent EW modernization. I believe 4 of the 10 are strictly electronic warfare aircraft. Also the 2 (I believe) C-130 Compass Call.

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