Egypt received its first order of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters.
On February 25, Russia officially announced that Egypt had received five Sukhoi Su-35 advanced multi-role fighter aircraft, the first of an order of 24.
Egypt ordered the planes despite threats of US sanctions after Washington refused to sell Cairo its fifth-generation F-35 fighter-bomber.
Major-General Nasr Salem, the former head of the Egyptian army’s reconnaissance department and professor of strategic studies at the Nasser Higher Military Academy, told Al-Monitor that the Egyptian acquisition of the Su-35 fighters (NATO: Flanker-E), along with MiG-29Ms, Rafale fighters and F-16 Falcons, will ensure air control so as to protect Egyptian interests.
Russia’s Top War website, which focuses on defense affairs, reported on July 23 that the first batch of Su-35 fighters took off from the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant and headed to the European side of Russia, from where they will be delivered to Egypt.
The report read, “Photos of the first five Su-35 fighters built for the Egyptian Air Force appeared on the Web, which made a stopover at Novosibirsk Tolmachevo Airport during a flight to the European part of Russia. As can be seen from the photographs, there are no identification marks on the planes, but the tail numbers on the keels are marked from 9210 to 9214.”
On March 18, 2019, the Egyptian Air Force inked a US$2 billion deal to buy 24 Russian-made Su-35 fighter jets, including related equipment, according to Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS).
An article in the Russian publication Komsomolskaya Pravda also stated that the main reason Egypt insisted on buying the aircraft is that they can outperform the American-made F-15 and F-16 jets — an argument which has some merit.
Major-General Hamdi Bakhit, a member of the parliamentary Defense and National Security Committee, told Al-Monitor that the Sukhoi fighters are a major addition to the Egyptian Air Force in light of the present threats to the region.
It was initially planned for export, however, it is also now in service with the Russian Air Force.
The Su-35 features thrust-vectoring engines and a brand-new mission suite, including a Tikhomirov NIIP N135 Irbis Passive Electronically Scanned Array (PESA) radar and a “glass” cockpit.
Washington has strongly objected to the Russian deal. It added that such a deal would affect future defense deals between Cairo and Washington, Al-Monitor reported.
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