Egypt has indicated it is interested in acquiring up to 24 MiG-35s.
The jet fighters, built by the Russian United Aircraft Corporation, are not yet in production and this could delay delivery to the North African country.
International reports indicate Egypt is preparing to spend up to US$3 billion on acquisitions. This would include the MiG-35s as well as MiG-29s, Mi-35 helicopter gunships, air and coastal defence systems, firearms and ammunition.
Egypt, now regaining international support, has approached Moscow after being turned down by Washington on the acquisition package. Negotiations with Russia have been underway for at least six month but to date no contract has been signed.
The framework for the deal was originally proposed during a visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu to Cairo in November 2013. In February the arms package was agreed in principle between Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, then defence minister and the Russian president Vladimir Putin during Sisi’s visit to Moscow in February this year. It was Sisi’s first trip abroad, following his seizure of power in a coup in August 2013.
The manufacturer, Russian Aircraft Corporation (UAC) through its subsidiary Russian Aircraft Corp (RAC) has failed to gain international orders for the aircraft and is currently awaiting an initial order from the Russian Air Force to kick-start production in two years. Reports have it Moscow could try to secure the Egyptian order with an earlier model utilising the current production line for the new-built MiG/M2, which shares commonality with the MiG-29K model recently supplied to the Indian Navy.