The Egyptian Air Force has taken delivery of all its MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets from Russia and has started receiving the first of two dozen Su-35 fighters.
This is according to Russia’s New Defence Order Strategy magazine. Quoting Russian industry sources, it stated in its second edition of 2021 that five Su-35s were delivered in 2020. According to analyst Mahmoud Gamal, 12 Egyptian Su-35s have been spotted in satellite imagery outside the Komsomolks-on-Amur plant ahead of delivery.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) arms transfers database, Egypt ordered 24 Su-35S fighters in 2018/19, with delivery by 2023. They were first seen flying in mid-2020, months after production began at the Gagarin Aircraft Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
The Su-35 is one of the latest evolutions of the Su-27 ‘Flanker’ and first flew in February 2008, after which it was put in production for the Russian Air Force – service entry was in 2014. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-35 features new avionics including the Irbis phased array radar with a range of 400 km and more powerful AL-41F1S engines (14 500 kg of thrust) with thrust vectoring control (negating the need for canards).
The new jets will supplement the MiG-29M/M2 fighters Egypt has received and help replace obsolete MiG-21s and J-7s. According to SIPRI, Egypt ordered 50 MiG-29M/M2 aircraft in 2015, with deliveries between 2017 and 2020.
An Egyptian MiG-29 crashed in Egypt on a training flight in November 2018 and another crashed during what was described as a routine training mission in December 2019. The pilots survived both crashes after ejecting safely. Two new MiG-29ss were delivered in 2020 as compensation for those that crashed due to technical malfunctions.
Egypt also received 300 R-73 and 300 R-77 beyond visual range air-to-air missiles for the MiG-29M/M2 fighters.