The Egyptian army is to receive its first batch of Sukhoi Su-35 air-superiority fighters, judging by photographs that were captured of the Russian jets presumably en route to Egypt.
Five of the Sukhoi Su-35 Flankers, which are now owned by the Egyptian Air Force, were seen headed to Egypt. They are given numbers between 9210 and 9214, according to the RT’s Arabic-language news site.
The entire deal, signed in 2019, was for the purchase of upwards of 20 Su-35 air-superiority fighter jets, with a cost of $2 billion.
— SwankyStas (@StasSwanky) July 22, 2020
As has become customary, the US is objected to Cairo’s purchase of Russian hardware, and these was the usual threat of sanctions.
Just after the deal was signed, US officials were cited saying that “the United States could impose sanctions on Egypt and block it from future military sales if it goes ahead with a purchase of Russian warplanes.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned Egypt against concluding the purchase of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-35.
In November 2019, US Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper told reporters at the Dubai Airshow that was held in November 2019: “It puts them [Egypt] at risk of sanctions and it puts them at risk of loss of future acquisitions. It’s not a new thing. Cairo is clearly aware of this. It’s not new news.”
The planes are being delivered, and whether sanctions will actually be imposed is yet to be seen.
It is interesting that Egypt is neglecting the US’ calls, since it is the biggest beneficiary of foreign military from the US, after Israel.
Washington has provided billions in economic and military aid to Egypt over the past years, including its F-16 fighters.
Back in May 2020, the US State Department announced that it had approved a $2.3 billion military sales deal for Egypt, which includes delivery of equipment to upgrade 43 advanced Apache attack helicopters.
Cairo has long tried to diversify its arms sources for national security purposes, reaching out to countries like Germany, France, China and Spain, an indication that it is not solely looking to Russia.
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