Egypt interested in Buyan class corvettes and K9 artillery


Egypt may be planning even more military acquisitions, and has apparently expressed interest in Buyan class corvettes from Russia and K9 155 mm self-propelled artillery from South Korea.

According to the Zelenodolsk Shipyard’s most recent annual report, Egypt and Turkmenistan (identified in the report by their country codes 818 and 795) are interested in acquiring the Project 21632 (Buyan class) corvettes. Export models would feature various modifications.

The type is one of the newest corvettes in service with the Russian Navy, with the first of a dozen commissioned in September 2006. In October 2015 the type launched missiles from the Caspian Sea at targets in Syria and in August 2016 the missile version, Buyan-M, launched Kalibr NK cruise missiles at targets in Syria from the Mediterranean.

According to Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation, the Project 21632 vessels, developed by the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau, have a full displacement of 560 tons, length of 61 metres and beam of 9.6 metres. They have a top speed of 26 knots and range of 1 500 nautical miles/10 day endurance. Armament can include Uran-E and Yakhont missiles, Grad-M rocket launchers, a 100 mm A-190 main gun, two 30 mm AK-306 close-in weapons systems (CIWSs) and one 30 mm AK-630M CIWS. 14.5 mm and 7.62 mm machineguns can also be fitted. A helipad can accommodate a single helicopter such as a Ka-226. Igla-type surface-to-air missiles can be fitted for self-defence.

Meanwhile, Egypt has reportedly expressed interest in acquiring K9 155 mm self-propelled howitzer’s from South Korea’s Samsung Techwin, which is optimistic about securing a contract. Egypt has been eyeing the K9 since 2010 when a memorandum of understanding on defence cooperation was signed between the two countries. Egypt has for years expressed interest in acquiring new self-propelled howitzers, most likely to replace its M109s.

South Korea-Egypt defence ties received a boost this year when South Korean Vice Defense Minister Hwang In-moo signed a memorandum of understanding with Egyptian Defense Minister Sedki Sobhy in Cairo in late March.

On 10 July a photo appeared on Twitter showing a K9 on a flatbed trailer apparently moving through Egypt for evaluation.

The K9 has attracted a lot of international interest recently, with Finland in February announcing the purchase of 48 ex-South Korean Army systems, Estonia in February announcing a planned procurement of 12 used examples, and India in March clearing the purchase of 100 modified systems for the Indian Army. The type has also been acquired by Turkey.

Operated by a five-man crew, the 47-tonne K9 is capable of firing to ranges between 18 and 42 km at a rate of six rounds per minute. It is powered by a 1 000 hp MTU V8 diesel engine. A hydro-suspension system and high ground clearance ensure mobility across varied terrain. Armour provides protection against 14.5 mm armour-piercing shells.

Another possible Egyptian military deal is the local assembly of T-90 main battle tanks. Last month it was suggested that Egypt was looking to acquire 400-500 T-90MS tanks from Russia under a deal that would include local assembly/manufacture.