Egypt will sign a contract for 46 MiG-29 fighter jets with RAC MiG in the near future, according to Russian media, after more than a year of deliberation.
Russian business daily Vedomosti quoted two aviation industry sources as saying that Egypt had recently agreed to buy 46 of the MiGs, but could not get comment from Rosoboronexport or Russian Aircraft Corporation (RAC) MiG on the deal.
In February, RAC MiG chief Sergei Korotkov said that his company was ready to supply Egypt with fighters. Representatives from the Egyptian military have visited the MiG-35 production facility while Egypt has previously expressed interested in 24 of the jets. Early last year Egypt expressed interest in MiG-29 fighters, Mi-35 attack helicopters and other hardware and in September Rosoboronexport said it reached a preliminary deal for Cairo to buy arms worth $3.5 billion.
It is not clear if Russia will be receiving the MiG-29 or improved MiG-35, which has struggled to gain orders. Russia intends to sign the first contract for the MiG-35 in 2016.
It is assumed that if the MiG deal goes through, the aircraft will be used to replace the Egyptian Air Force’s MiG-21s/J7s while the recently ordered Dassault Rafales would be used to complement and/or replace some of its Mirages, F-16s and F-4s.
In February this year Egypt ordered 16 two-seater and eight single-seater Rafales. Three aircraft on the production line destined for the French Air Force will be delivered to Egypt instead, after some French equipment has been removed. Together with the French Navy’s FREMM frigate Normandie, they will arrive in time to perform a flypast at the inauguration of the expanded Suez Canal on 5 August. The other 21 aircraft will be delivered at the rate of five a year.