The air arm of the Egyptian army - an overview and summary of procurement plans
29 Beshevat 5555 02.14.2018.
Update of parts 8 of the 5th Tevet 01.01.2023
From an Israeli perspective
As part of the basic research on the arms in the Egyptian army, chapters will be singled out for the arms: the land, the sea and the air defense. This time we will deal with the air arm. The review was originally written in February 2018, was updated in July 2020, and has now been updated again.
As early as 1937, the air force in the Egyptian army received the status of an arm. Since the war of independence, the Egyptian army has been working on the development of this branch. Indeed, for many decades now, the Egyptian army has been very careful that the Egyptian air force has at least a quantitative advantage over the Israeli air force.
In the early 1960s, Egypt, under the leadership of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, began to develop a military infrastructure for a war with Israel. In this framework, two new airports were built in Sinai: in Jebel Livni and Bir Thamada. And this is in addition to the airports in El Arish and Rafidim and Sharm el-Sheikh, which existed since the time of the Kadesh War.
In the Six Day War, the Israeli Air Force surprised the Egyptian Air Force and attacked the runways of the military airports in Egypt. The move prevented the ability of the Egyptian Air Force to take off, so that in the second wave the Israeli Air Force attacked the Egyptian planes while they were on the ground, and in fact the Egyptian Air Force did not really show itself in this war.
The discrimination in the Six Day War taught the Egyptians a triple lesson, which they apply to this day:
A. Immediately after the war, hundreds of apartments (protected structure for fighter-bomber planes) were built all over Egypt, and today there are over a thousand apartments. In fact, from then until today, all fighter planes have apartments (for transport planes and helicopters, the solution of apartments is usually impractical, so most of them stay at the airports without protection).
B. In most airports, an additional runway was built - which makes it difficult to paralyze the field, and additional new airports were also built.
third. A sophisticated air defense system was established that includes a combination of air-to-surface missiles of various types with radar-guided anti-aircraft guns, and an extensive network of radar emplacements was deployed all over Egypt. The air defense system is a separate arm, something that Egypt had to deal with during the Yom Kippur War. I don't know what the solution to this problem is today.
In the Yom Kippur War, the Israeli Air Force tried to repeat its success in the Six Day War, and tried again and again to hit the airport runways in Egypt, but this time to no avail (recommend listening to the lecture of Lt. Col. Aviam Sela in the link. ) On the other hand, the performances of The Egyptian Air Force during the Yom Kippur War, both in attacking IDF military targets in the Sinai, both in air battles and in close assistance to the Egyptian ground forces, were not something to be proud of, and this despite the fact that it was the one that struck first. The main failure of the Egyptian Air Force was that it failed to prevent the IDF's successful move.
The situation today
Egypt currently has about 60 airports - 45 of which are military, and military infrastructure facilities were built in them such as: military bases, ammunition bunkers, T/K fuel storages and fortified command and control centers. In addition to the airports for airplanes, where there are parking lots for helicopters, Also airports designated for helicopters only, such as: in Dursoar and Hatataba
In recent years, especially since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in Egypt, there has been a boom in the construction of anti-corruption facilities, which is mainly carried out at airports in Sinai and in the Suez-Cairo Canal area.
In addition to the expansion of the airport infrastructure in the Sinai - Cairo area, works are also being carried out in the following fields:
A. At the military airport in Siwa (in the western desert near the Libyan border) a new runway is being paved. A wall with guard towers was built around the field and we built camps for the units to defend the field.
B. 12 more apartments were added at the Bata - Solom airport near the Egypt-Libya border. In my opinion, the expansion of the field is closely related to protecting the Egyptian naval base on July 3, which was built in western Egypt.
third. The civil airport in El Alamein was converted to military needs, on a renovated runway and 6 apartments were built there. In my opinion, the conversion of the field to military needs is due to the construction of the nuclear facility located in the nearby Adeva.
d. At the Ras Benas military airport (in the eastern desert near the border with Sudan), another runway was paved and 18 new apartments were built, apparently replacing the old ones.
God. The civil airport Kawnath (in the western desert about 300 km west of Abu Simbel and about 70 km north of the border with Sudan), is equipped for military needs and 16 apartments for fighter/bomber planes are being built there
Along with the works to develop the infrastructure of the Egyptian Air Force, Egypt is conducting an extensive procurement campaign to increase the air force and upgrade the capabilities of the aircraft as detailed below
Air Force General Staff
Below is a table summarizing what is known from visible sources on the subject of the Egyptian Air Force SDF. The table is based on information collected mainly from Wikipedia in 2017. The table has undergone a partial update of details updated to the end of 2022
Purchased the air arm
Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in Egypt, the Egyptian army has been feverishly strengthening and equipping itself with the best weapons available for purchase in the world. The army is very particular about diversifying its sources of supply to avoid dependence on one country or another.
In the tables below there is a prot; What was purchased, how much was supplied and the cost in millions of dollars
The low performance of the Egyptian Air Force in the Yom Kippur War led the Egyptians to the conclusion (wrong or right - it doesn't matter at all) that the fault lies in the landing of the Soviet planes and armaments in front of the American planes and armaments in the hands of Israel. Now that they are equipped with an abundance of planes and advanced weaponry both from the United States and from the best European planes (the "Raphael" plane), they have gone to sea to be tempted to think that they have reached a balance against the Israeli Air Force. I hope that those in charge of Israel's security are aware of this danger and are preparing for it