The Egyptian Air Force has received a second batch of three Rafale fighter jets from Dassault. On Thursday the aircraft arrived in Cairo from France.
The aircraft were all two-seat Rafale DM variants – on 16 February 2015, Egypt ordered 16 two-seat DMs and eight single-seat Rafale EMs. The first three delivered were also two-seaters and arrived in Egypt on 21 July 2015, allowing them to take part in the opening of the expanded Suez Canal in August.
The Rafales will be operated by the 203rd Tactical Fighter Wing ‘Storm’/34 Squadron ‘Wild Wolves’.
Egyptian Rafales will be armed with Mica air-to-air missiles, Scalp cruise missiles and AASM Hammer guided missiles.
The first three Rafales were originally produced for the French Air Force but were diverted to Egypt instead, after some French equipment was removed. The remainder are due to follow at a rate of five aircraft per year.
France has ordered 180 Rafales and received 137 so far. In April 2015 India ordered 36 Rafales while in May Qatar signed a contract for 24 of the jets.
Egypt recently took delivery of additional F-16s. On 29 October the final four of 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons arrived at Cairo West Air Force Base from the United States. The eight preceding F-16s were delivered to Egypt on July 30 and 31.
The United States froze the delivery of military hardware to Egypt in 2013 after former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown by the military after mass protests against his rule. In late March 2015, US President Barack Obama lifted a hold on a supply of arms to Cairo, authorizing deliveries of US weapons valued at more than $1.3 billion, including 12 Lockheed Martin F-16s, 20 Boeing Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits made by General Dynamics.
Meanwhile, a two-seat F-16 of the Egyptian Air Force was destroyed in a crash on 27 January after technical failure during an exercise. Both crewmembers, pilot Mohamed Gamal Farag and Captain Mahmoud Fouad, were killed in the accident at Al Ismailiyah Air Base, near Fayed in northeastern Egypt.