Monday, 18 March 2019

Su-35 will strengthen the Egyptian force - Newspaper Kommersant number 46 (6526) from 03.03.2019

Chris Janssens

Su-35 will strengthen the Egyptian force - Newspaper Kommersant number 46 (6526) from 03.03.2019: - Translated by google - As it became known to “Kommersant”, Russia signed a contract with Egypt for the supply of several dozen heavy Su-35 multifunctional fighters. Together with the MiG-29M / M2 medium fighters supplied to Egypt, in the coming years they should significantly increase the combat potential of the Egyptian air force fleet, which still carry the outdated Soviet MiG-21 and Chinese J-7. The contract itself, estimated at $ 2 billion, confirms Egypt’s status as one of the largest buyers of Russian weapons.

The fact that Egypt has signed an agreement for the supply of Su-35 fighters, “Kommersant” told two top managers of defense industry enterprises. According to them, the relevant agreement, which implies the supply of “over two dozen machines” and aviation aids to them in the amount of about $ 2 billion, entered into force at the end of 2018, and the supplies themselves can begin as early as 2020–2021. The interlocutors of “Kommersant” noted that the contract “guarantees the loading of the capacity of the manufacturer of the machine - the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Plant - for several years ahead. At the same time, one of the interlocutors of “Kommersant” stressed that the production capabilities of the factory line allow the company to produce about 20 such machines for the needs of Russian aerospace forces without problems in 2019–2020.

In recent years, Egypt is one of the largest buyers of a wide range of Russian weapons and military equipment. This activity is directly related to the figure of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power in Egypt during the coup d'état in 2013.

According to military sources, the former Minister of Defense al-Sisi, who replaced Mohammed Mursi as head of the state, very quickly realized the real need of the army for massive rearmament. Already in 2014, Moscow and Cairo signed a package of arms contracts, implying the supply of various air defense systems (anti-missile systems Antey-2500 and Buk-M2E), artillery, small arms and other weapons worth about $ 3.5 billion. Signed then the de facto package of contracts became the first real example of the renewal of military-technical cooperation between Cairo and Moscow since 1972, when Soviet military advisers left the country at the request of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Subsequently, a number of iconic weapon contracts were concluded:

Note that, against the background of such large-scale purchases in Russia, Egypt did not refuse to offer other countries. For example, in February 2015, the Egyptian military bought 24 fighters Rafale in France, a frigate of the FREMM type and tactical cruise missiles Scalp-EG worth about € 5 billion. that Scalp-EG contains American-made components, the export of which requires the issuance of an authorization license (according to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations restrictive regime). Without it, the delivery of missiles to another country is impossible. But in October 2015, with the consent of Russia, the Egyptian military purchased from France two helicopter carriers of the Mistral type.intended for the Russian Navy, but never transferred to him for political reasons (then-President Francois Hollande directly linked the supply with stabilization of the situation in south-eastern Ukraine). In June 2016, both ships - the "Gamal Abdel Nasser" and "Anwar Sadat" - became part of the Egyptian Navy. Note that in 2017, Russia also won the Egyptian tender for the supply of Ka-52K ship-based helicopters : after signing a firm contract, the Egyptian Navy plans to deploy several helicopter squadrons on two Mistrals (collectively, this is about 32 Ka-52K helicopters).

At about the same time, the first reports appeared about Egypt’s readiness to buy the Su-35: local media (for example, the El Watan newspaper) reported that Egypt would buy 12 such cars from Russia, since they “outnumber any of the existing currently in the world of fighters ", including the American F-35 and F-22. From about that time, parties with varying degrees of intensity were negotiating on the subject of the Su-35, but the real shift came after the fighters took over during the Russian operation in Syria, one of the Kommersant’s military interlocutors says: not only to replace the physically obsolete Soviet MiG-21s and their Chinese J-7 derivatives (the MiG-29M / M2 was acquired for this task),

Recall that until recently, it was aware of two firm contracts for the Su-35: in November 2015, an agreement was signed with the PRC for the supply of 24 Su-35 fighter jets (a contract worth over $ 2 billion was completed at the end of 2018, when the customer was the last four cars were delivered), and in 2018 11 Su-35s contracted Indonesia (the contract is estimated at $ 1.1 billion, of which about half comes from counter-deliveries of non-military products). At the same time, for the first time, so-called secondary sanctions were applied to China for this the framework of CAATSA (“On Countering America's Opponents through Sanctions”). For example, in September 2018, restrictive measures were imposed on the equipment development department of the Chinese Army of the Central Military Council and its director Li Shanfu for forbidden cooperation with Russia. Similar US sanctions threatened the Indonesian authorities, but the country's defense minister Riamizard Riachudu said that Jakarta did not intend to cancel the Su-35 deal, despite US anti-Russian sanctions and possible restrictive measures for cooperation with Moscow. Delivery of the first Su-35 to Indonesia may begin as early as the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020.

Ivan Safronov, Alexandra Djordjevic

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