According to Aviation International News (AIN), the first batch of Mikoyan MiG-29 (or MiG-35) Fulcrum multi-role fighters for the Egyptian Air Force are reportedly under production.
Citing industry sources, AIN is reporting that several Fulcrum fighters (destined for Egypt) will be ready for flight tests by the end of 2016.
As per AIN, Egypt’s Fulcrum purchase is being funded with Saudi support. Due to the sensitive nature of the transaction, the deal has been kept relatively low-key by each of the sides involved.
The specific Fulcrum type meant for Egypt is not yet known, though it is believed to at least be the MiG-29M/M2 variant (currently available on the market). It may also be the MiG-35 Fulcrum-F, which is also due for delivery to the Russian Air Force in 2018.
Comment and Analysis
The MiG-29M/M2 (or MiG-35) purchase is another in a long line of impressive big-ticket acquisitions on the part of the Egyptian military. At the end of 2015, it was believed that Egypt ordered 46 Fulcrum fighters from Russia under a $2 billon U.S. contract. It is likely that these MiGs will replace the Egyptian Air Force’s MiG-21 and potentially even its Chengdu F-7s (a Chinese built variant of the MiG-21).
Like the recently delivered Dassault Rafales, it is almost certain that the Fulcrums will be used by the Egyptian Air Force to finally incorporation vital combat capabilities into its operational doctrine. These could include precision air-to-ground strike and beyond-visual-range air-to-air combat.
Egypt also has 40-50 Ka-52 dedicated attack helicopters on order from Russia, these will be stationed with the Egyptian Navy’s recently acquired Mistral helicopter carriers. In fact, the vast majority of its recent big-ticket acquisitions have been from non-U.S. sources, namely France and Russia, and to a lesser extent Germany (for Type 209/1400 diesel-electric submarines).