Egypt’s $3.5 billion arms deal with Russia moving forward; US to deliver Apaches


The United States will deliver ten Boeing AH-64D Block II Apache helicopter to Egypt following the lifting of the suspension of military aid earlier this year, while a $3.5 billion arms deal with Russia is to include submarines, surface-to-air missiles and jets.

United States defence secretary Chuck Hagel earlier this month confirmed the Apache deliveries would go ahead. On September 20 Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said Hagel spoke to Egyptian defence minister Colonel General Sedki Sobhy about the deliveries. “The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a strong bilateral relationship and agreed to continue to engage regularly,” Kirby said.

The US lifted its suspension of military aid to Egypt on April 22 this year.

It is believed that the Apaches have already been manufactured already and are just awaiting delivery. They were ordered in 2010 to augment the 35 that have been in service since 2003 with the Egyptian Air Force’s 550 Attack Helicopter Regiment.

Although the Apaches will be delivered, it appears that other US weapon deliveries are still suspended, including the delivery of four F-16C/D Fighting Falcons, M1A1 main battle tank its and RGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles.

As a result of the US suspension of some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid following the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi by the military in July 2013, Egypt has looked to Russia to meet its military needs and has agreed to a massive $3.5 billion arms deal that includes fighter jets, surface-to-air missiles, submarines and other equipment.

The deal was announced at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2014 exhibition in Pretoria on September 17 by chief of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Alexander Fomin.

Russian defence industry official Sergei Chemezov earlier told RIA Novosti that arms exports to Egypt would include deliveries of small arms, air defence systems and artillery. Russia in February this year expressed interest in MiG-29 fighters, Mi-35 attack helicopters and other hardware. Russia’s Zvezda TV news reported the contract will include MiGs, submarines and air-defence systems.

Presumably part of the deal, Egypt is buying S-300VM air defence systems from Almaz Antey for around $500 million. This is according to Russian daily Vedomosti. The Fontanka newspaper earlier this month reported that a factory in St Petersburg was building 22 tracked vehicles used with the S-300VM for an unidentified foreign customer.

The S-300VM uses two different missiles to shoot down targets ranging from cruise missiles and aircraft to ballistic missiles. It can engage four targets out to 200 km and altitudes of up to 25 000 metres.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Air Force will soon receive the final two of an initial 12 C295s on order from Airbus Military. They were recently spotted outside the Seville-San Pablo Airport in Spain. In July this year Egypt ordered another eight C295s to bring its total to 20.