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Egypt receives more Rafales, preparing to induct MiG-29s

Egyptian Rafales.The Egyptian Air Force received three more Rafales from Dassault on 4 April, and is preparing to introduce MiG-29s into service soon, with the first seen undergoing test flights in Egyptian colours.

The Egyptian Air Force now operates nine Rafales, out of 24 ordered from France, according to the Middle East Monitor.

An Egyptian two seat Rafale left Dassault Aviation’s assembly line in mid-December last year ahead of delivery. It was the first built completely for Egypt as the previous six were intended for the French Air Force and modified for Egypt.

At a 2016 financial results press conference in March this year, Dassault said it will deliver one Rafale to France and eight to Egypt this year, compared to six to France and three to Egypt in 2016. Deliveries of the remaining ten aircraft are scheduled to take place over the next two years. They include 16 Rafale DM two seaters and eight Rafale EM single seaters.

The first Egyptian Rafales were delivered on 20 July 2015, allowing them to take part in the opening of the expanded Suez Canal in August, and the next three on 28 January 2016. They are in service with 34 Squadron of 203 Tactical Fighter Wing.

Meanwhile, the first Egyptian MiG-29 (811) was seen in full Egyptian markings taking off from Zhukovsky Air Base in Russia near the beginning of April. Deliveries are set to conclude by no later than 2020, according to Russian state-run news agency Sputnik.

The 50 MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets being acquired by Egypt from Russia’s RAC MiG will be equipped with OLS-EU infrared search and track systems, PPK targeting pods and MSP electronic warfare systems, allowing them to carry precision guided munitions. Rosoboronexport signed the deal in April 2015.

The MiG-29M (and two seat MiG-29M2) is an improved version of the MiG-29 featuring longer range due to increased internal fuel, a lighter airframe, slightly more powerful and improved RD-33MK engines, an in-flight refuelling probe, multi-function displays in the cockpit and improved avionics.

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