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Egypt approves 3.3 billion euro military loan from France

Egyptian Rafales.Egypt’s parliament has voted for the approval of a 3.3 billion euro from France to pay for the military hardware it is receiving, from fighter jets to warships.

A parliamentary report said that a number of French banks, led by Credit Agricole, will provide a cash loan of ‎‎3375.54 million euros for Egypt’s ministry of defence, representing 60 per ‎cent of the value of French military equipment ‎that will be delivered to Egypt, according to Ahram Online.

“The total value of ‎this equipment is estimated at 5625.9 million ‎euros, with Egypt to pay the remaining 40 ‎per cent,” the report also revealed. The loan will be guaranteed by ‎Egypt’s finance ministry.‎

Some political parties said the loan would help Egypt’s military combat terrorism in Sinai and secure the nation’s borders.

Egypt has been on a massive arms spending spree lately, ordering vast amounts of military equipment from France and Russia, from frigates to fighter jets. One of the latest deals will apparently make Egypt the first export customer for Russia’s 9A1472 Vikhr-1/AT-16 Scallion anti-tank guided missile, with plans to buy 1 000 missiles.

This is according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) arms transfer database, which says Egypt has selected the Vikhr-1 and 9M120 Ataka (AT-9 Spiral-2) to equip the 46 Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters it has on order.

Although a contract has not been signed yet, according to SIPRI, Egypt plans to buy 1 000 of each type of missile. Army Recognition notes that the Vikhr laser-guided weapon entered service with Russia in the 1980s and was upgraded to Vikhr-1 standard, with the Russian military receiving missiles in late 2015. The weapon has a range of 6-10 km and can penetrate 1 000 mm of armour as well as a layer of explosive reactive armour. The 6 km range 9M120 Ataka was developed in the mid-1990s and can penetrate 850-950 mm of armour, as well as a layer of explosive reactive armour.

According to SIPRI, tther missile orders from Egypt recorded lately include 45 MM-40-3 Exocets for the Gowind and FREMM frigates, and 500 AASMs and 150 MICA air-to-air missiles for the Rafale jets for delivery this year.

Equipment ordered by or delivered to Egypt in the last year or so on the naval side includes four Gowind 2500 frigates ordered from France in 2014 and scheduled for delivery in 2017-19; six Swiftships-35 patrol craft received from the US in 2014; two Mistral class helicopter carriers; four EDAR landing craft for the Mistrals; a single FREMM frigate delivered last year; four Type 209 submarines ordered between 2012 and 2014; and a Project-12421 Tarantual fast attack craft (with Moskit/SS-N-22 missiles) donated by Russia last year. Four Ambassador-4 corvettes received by 2015 from the United States are armed with Harpoon-2, RIM-116A RAM.

On the aircraft side, Egypt has in the last 18 months ordered 24 Rafale fighters; 46 Ka-52K helicopters; 12 C295 transport aircraft, and possibly 50 MiG-29M fighters. The last of 20 F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft was delivered from the United States last year and these are equipped with AAQ-33 Sniper target systems while the Rafales are being equipped with TALIOS targeting pods.

Land systems include the continued production of 1 280 Fahd armoured personnel carriers/infantry fighting vehicles; 50 Panthera T6 armoured vehicles received from the UAE in 2014/15; and M1A1 Abrams tank kits from the United States.
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