Egyptian-Russian 2017 military relations: a new return to the 1960s alliance

Since the era of Egypt’s late President Gamal Abdel Nasser, the bilateral military relations between Egypt and Russia witnessed several stages of growth. However, the glorious period of those relations was during the 1960s; at that time relations were very strong.

That co-operation was dimmed in the wake of the 1979 peace treaty signed between Egypt and Israel under the auspices of the US. From that date till 2013, Egypt was heavily dependant on the US as a source of armament.

However, the arrival of the June 30 uprising against Muslim Brotherhood rule resulted in a new strategy based on the diversification of bilateral relations to include its old ally Russia.

With the declaration of former Egyptian army leader Abdel Fattah Sisi as President of Egypt, both countries agreed on enhancing the bilateral military co-operation through a number of deals aimed to upgrade the level of armament of the Egyptian army.

Ahead of Monday’s visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Egypt, Egypt Independent highlights the most prominent armament deals that have been signed between Egypt and Russia in recent years.

2014 – MIG 29 and ‘S-300’

During the visit of Egypt’s Sisi to Russia in 2014, the countries signed arms deals with an estimated value of 3.5 billion dollars. This deal aimed to upgrade the Egyptian missiles systems through supporting Egypt with Russian anti-aircraft missiles S300.

In addition, Russia is reported to support Egypt with MIG 29, MIG 35 and Su-30 fighter jets dedicated to upgrading the performance of the Egyptian Air Force.

Recently, the Russian news agency TASS reported that Egypt will receive 50 MIG 29 fighters in batches. They are scheduled to arrive on an annual basis over several years.

It added that the contract came after Russian President Putin’s meeting with Sisi in February 2014, noting that the deal would be the largest order of MiG-29 jets in the post-Soviet period.

The contract for the delivery of the 50 MiG-29 Fulcrum multirole fighters has reportedly se0 the year 2020 as the completion deadline. No official Egyptian declaration on the deal has been made till now.

2015: ‘S-300’ arrives in Egypt

With the arrival of the Russian air defense system S-300, the Egyptian-Russian military deals to support Egypt’s air defense systems increased. These deals focused on three main axes. First: modernization of the short-range air defense system to the TorM2 system. This axis has been announced since 2012. Second: upgrading Egypt’s mid-range air defense to the “Bock M2” system. And third: introducing the long-range air defense system S-300 for the first time within the Egyptian air defense forces.

S-300 is considered the most powerful in the face of all types of aircraft and ballistic missiles and its arrival to Egypt is considered a powerful addition to Egypt’s air defense forces.

Russian vessel ‘Molnia b32’

On the naval side, the Egyptian Ministry of Defense recently published a video of the Russian War boat ‘Molnia b32’, which was given by Moscow to Egypt as part of the military cooperation between the two countries.

‘Molnia b32’ is considered as one of the latest Russian naval vessels, sailing in the new Suez Canal with a number of Egyptian naval forces.

The Molinia is a powerful addition to the Egyptian navy for its high combat capabilities, as well as a rapid and long-range sea-to-sea missile platform, beside its advanced technology in military communications and modern defense systems.


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