Egypt is closing a deal with Russia to buy not 24, or 46 – as earlier reported – but even up to 62 Mikoyan-Gurevich designed MiG-29 and/or MiG-35 Fulcrum fighters from Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, sources in the Middle East say.
For months there have been conflicting reports on the type and number of Fulcrums the Egyptian Air Force is likely to get. In May we at Airheadsfly.com reported that Cairo was in fact interested in the MiG-35 – which is a further development of the MiG-29. We won’t rule out a combination deal: 48 MiG-29SMTs and 24 MiG-35s – or 46 MiG-35s and 26 MiG-29SMTs. But a day after the renewed rumours, Moscow officials denied any immediate plans to deliver MiGs to Egypt.
The Russian-made fighter aircraft will augment the 24 Dassault Rafale jets Egypt ordered in France this year, as well as the increasing fleet of US-made Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons – with 12 new aircraft expected to augment the 288 already on strength.
The new Russian MiGs will be first and foremost be used to replace the aging MiG-21 Fishbed, with about 56 of them still serving. The Egypian Air Force also operates 57 somewhat similar Chengdu J-7s provided by China, as well as 18 Dassault Mirage 2000s. Several tens of Mirage Vs (out of 82 delivered) are also on duty.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: A MiG-29SMT (Image © Russian Aircraft Corporation)