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Egypt’s MiG-29s will have IRST, targeting pods & modern EW systems.
May 27, 2017
Mikoyan MiG-35 Fulcrum-F. Photo credit: United Aircraft Corporation

Egypt’s MiG-29s will have IRST, targeting pods & modern EW systems.

According to a Russia daily (Izvestia – via Air Recognition), the Egyptian Air Force (EAF)’s forthcoming MIG-29s will be equipped with infrared search and track (IRST) systems, modern targeting pods and electronic warfare (EW) suites.

Egypt ordered 46 MiG-29s – potentially MiG-29M/M2s – from Russia at the end of 2015 for approximately $2 billion U.S. in a bid to replace its aged MiG-21s and possibly Chengdu F-7s. The first batch of these aircraft reportedly entered production in June.

According to Izvestia, the EAF’s MiG-29s will be equipped with the OLS-UE IRST, which was originally offered with the MiG-35, the latest version of the Fulcrum. In addition, the fighters will be configured to utilize the PPK targeting pod for precision-guided air-to-ground strikes. An electronic countermeasures (ECM) suite for jamming radar-guided air-to-air missiles will also be included in the package.

Comment and Analysis

The inclusion of IRST will enable the EAF’s MiG-29s to track and engage targets based on the latter’s infrared – i.e. heat – signature. If caught in a dense EW/ECM environment with digital radio frequency memory (DRFM)-based systems, the MiG-29 can use IRST as a passive (i.e. non-emitting) sensor to detect nearby aerial objects. IRST can be a potent solution if paired with a high off-boresight (HOBS) within visual-range air-to-air missile (WVRAAM), which Egypt will likely procure from Russia. Alternatively, South Africa’s Denel Dynamics may see an A-Darter opportunity in the EAF’s MiG-29s.

With the EAF’s F-16s and Rafales equipped with the Sniper and Thales solution (e.g. Damocles), the PPK targeting pod would suggest that the EAF is seeking to mainstream precision-strike capabilities across its combat aircraft fleet. The KAB-series, Russia’s analogous counterpart to the Paveway series of laser-guided bombs could be considered the EAF’s primary air-to-ground munitions option for its MiG-29s, but again, numerous third party vendors could see an armament opportunity.

In recent years, Egypt has turned to Russia and Western Europe as a means to source advanced weapons technology, particularly for requirements the U.S. (which has been Egypt’s primary supplier of arms in the 1980s and 1990s) has been reluctant to meet. These gaps are being addressed through acquisitions from France and Russia. With the Fulcrum (MiG-29M/M2 and/or MiG-35) the EAF will not be left wanting in terms of modern fighter aircraft; in fact, the Fulcrum is comparatively affordable enough to assume a mainstay role in the EAF fighter fleet over the medium and long-term.

  • Shershahsuri

    EAF modernization road map seems a lot better than PAF. EAF has also been inducting Rafales. Now with new Mig-29 or Mig-35s as well in the pipeline EAF really make better match for Israeli Air Force in the region. Mr.Jigsaww is missed a lot for long. comments please

    • Irfan Ullah

      Pakistan economic conditions are not favouring Pakistan for such deals and secondly France is not offering the Rafales to Pakistan as India is pressurising France.in the current senario I think Pakistan best choice is China J-10B and J-31 along with Russian Su-35 .At the same time more focus on JF-17 block 3 a much needed program and should be on a fast track .

      • Shershahsuri

        well, economic constraints always come in the modernization of Pakistan Air Force and Navy. But just think Pakistan has lost 94 billion dollars in the corruption, mismanagement and tax thefts in the era from 2008 to 2013.These are the statistics of transparency international. We have so much to lose in corruption but we dont have much to spend on the procurement of our armed forces. Even in the procurement of SU.35 and J-10Bs economic constraints will play the role. However I agree to focus more on JF-17 block 3.

    • Abdullah Aman

      1st of all Egypt is lot richer then pakistan and 2nd Egypt does not face sanction problem and pakistan JF-17 program is lot independent then buying a full plane at least we are making it in pakistan JF-17 is need to get better but we can make it better by our own self that is the point if we buy planes US we have fear of sanction if we go to Russia India can stop it because they also have Mig and SU so we got not lot of options

  • Khalid Riaz

    A deal involving 46 Mig-29s with IRST, modern targeting pods and EW suites is not a bad deal at all. Although it is not clear if Russia would have been willing to sell similarly configured Mig-29s to Pakistan, the news does provide some food for thought for the PAF.

    • Halz

      Problem with Mig-29s is that they have very poor range in comparison to other two engine fighter aircraft out there. Pakistan is better off going for the Su-35 rather than the Mig-29 or Mig-35

      • Michael Nesom

        Totally agree about the range. The mig 29 is the only aircraft designed to defend its own airbase

  • bill

    Mig 35 was much better option instead of modernised Mig 29 as IRST is already in use of older versions. I have read some where that older IRST were not effective enough. The F16s with viper upgrade are far superior and may be provided easily to Egypt considering strong ties of Sisi with USA.

    On the other hand for PAF it is much better to get Su 35s in limited numbers and try to get Fc31 as soon as possible. Further to start production of JF17s-block III along with acquisition of F16s with MLU. As it is obvious that viper upgrade shall not be availble to PAF in short or even medium term.

    • Halz

      The US will never provide BVR’s to Egypt, plain and simple. Egyptian F-16s are only equipped with older versions of the Aim-9. Upgrading their F-16s is pointless in this case.

      I’m honestly surprised the Egyptians are even bothering to keep all those F-16s. They might as well cut a deal with Pakistan and trade off several squadrons of F-16s for JF-17s Block III with all the fancy PGM’s and BVRs they can’t get from the US. In return, Pakistan can probably upgrade the F-16s with Turkey’s assistance. Just my two cents.

      • M. Naim Shaikh

        This is a good idea and Pakistan must involve more barter arrangements.

  • DIAA aHMED

    Egyptian army announced on local TV
    Egypt has contracted to 29 aircraft SU-XX next purchase of 24 Rafale aircraft and 46 MiG-29 aircraft
    Egyptian MiG different from the MiG-35 Russian
    Because
    different from the Russians demands of Egypt, whether composite
    materials ratios in the integration of systems from third parties
    structures even in the radar specifications and other regulations as
    long as Egypt stature funded the development of systems in the MiG-29
    will be parallel to what brought out India’s Su-30 in 2000, which was
    better than Russian models in this period
    and superior by Titles vary a commercial to attract important customers
    specifications truth because Egypt wants Russian specifications higher
    than the Russian military’s demands, both in the reconstruction of
    fighters structures and the plane itself entirely and maintenance of
    Western levels next to merge any munitions locally manufactured Russians
    and agreed to sphincter conditions because Egypt simply has the best
    such option orientation
    of the Rafale and competitive aircraft bombed the Chinese J-10 for the
    Russians to make them give better performances even earn Egyptian
    contract

  • Babur Yaqub Khan

    I guess huge part of these big ticket military purchases consist of Saudi money (since they invested heavily in ousting Moursey and supporting military takeover), so take that out and one can not be sure they would be able to get these planes on their own.

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