High-stakes game: 50 MiG-29M fighters for Egypt

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High-stakes game: 50 MiG-29M fighters for Egypt
Original by Andrey Petrov published by gpolitika.com; translated by J.Hawk
The MiG Aviation Corporation is about to deliver over 50 land-based naval MiG-29M/M2 aircraft to Egypt, according to the corporation’s Deputy General Director Aleksey Beskibalov. He explicitly stated that Russia already received pre-payment from Egypt, and the first aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2016. “The contract will be the biggest in modern Russian history. It was not the first time it was mentioned in the media, open sources have been making references to it for over a year. Egypt, which is a leading military-technical partner of our country, was mentioned as the buyer. The contract’s value is estimated at over $2 billion,” according to military expert Mikhail Oparin. While in the ’90s, Russian military sales to Egypt were miniscule, the level of cooperation acquired a higher tempo. Oparin adds that in recent times nearly every contract between Egypt and Russia is worth no less than several hundred dollars. Two years ago, Russia signed a contract with Egypt to deliver S-300V, artillery systems, munitions. That’s why Egypt procured the Mistrals intended for us, and then bought Ka-52K helicopters which were intended for its airgroup.
But even in that context the MiG-29M contract is very large. “Egypt’s air force uses fighters made in four different countries, which is surely unique. The core consists of US F-16s, French Mirage 2000, Soviet MiG-21, and their Chinese copies. The intent is for the “29s” to replace the Soviet and Chinese machines,” Oparin believes. MiG-29M/M2 is a Generation 4+ multi-role fighter, a heavily modernized MiG-29 with expanded range of weapons and flight radius. “The aircraft has fly-by-wire systems and the Zhuk multifunctional radar allowing detection out to 100km. This new hard to intercept radar can track 10 and guide missiles to 4 targets simultaneously using active radar-homing missiles. New weapons allow volley fire with remote trajectory correction. Russia also developed the plane’s carrier-based version. Due to the shortage of funding its development was halted, but then restarted a few years later. The outcome was the MiG-29K/KUB which proved to the liking of Russia’s another strategic partner, India. MiG Corporation is still fulfilling the Indian naval contract for 29 fighters,” Oparin sums up.

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