Egyptian Air Force after 2020: “surprise” from the dark horse of the “Arabian coalition”
The sacrament of intricacies in foreign policy relations between the leading countries of the Middle East and Western Asia practically knows no boundaries. Why are there only bilateral relations between one of the leading countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, Egypt and the regional superpower of South East Asia — Saudi Arabia. Before the collapse of the USSR, Egypt was the main Middle Eastern strategic partner of our state, similar to the Syrian Arab Republic, except for the Camp David agreement, when a Sudanese man with the pro-American ideology Anwar al-Sadat stayed at the helm of Egypt. Turning away from military support of the Soviet Union in 1972, Sadat condemned the country to another humiliating defeat in the Doomsday War (4 of the Arab-Israeli war), when the Israeli ground forces approached Cairo at a distance of 100 km. Later, Sadat's visit to the Knesset of Jerusalem followed, as well as consultations on a peaceful settlement at Camp David, which finally “killed” Egypt’s chances for a rematch, and also identified Israel as a small regional superpower.
In October, 1981, Hosni Mubarak came to power, and already in 1982, the gradual restoration of relations with the USSR began. From this point on, Egypt’s foreign policy has become more balanced, and to this day it is not based on blindly following the geopolitical interests of the superpowers, but solely on its own economic and military-strategic benefits in the region. A similar policy of the Egyptian leadership is carried out in cooperation with neighboring states, the main of which can be considered Saudi Arabia.
As is known, the Egyptian Armed Forces are partially involved in the confrontation with the Yemeni national liberation movement "Ansar-Allah", which is based on Yemeni Hussites supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Egyptians are operating within the framework of the operation conducted against the Hussites by the forces of the "Arab coalition" and directly by Saudi Arabia. Support for the actions of Saudi Arabia in Yemen by the Egyptian Armed Forces is conducted even in spite of the anti-Saudi protests and rallies held outside the KSA embassy in 2015, and even despite the fact that they were organized by Egyptian special services. Apparently, in a short period of time, the vector of thinking of the Egyptian leadership managed to change to the diametrically opposite. What could so quickly affect the opinion of the circle of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi? Especially considering the fact that Russia unequivocally condemned the forceful actions of the “Arabian gang” against the Hussites and pointed out the direct participation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in training and logistical support for ISIL. Naturally, nothing more than major Saudi capital, which the latter are actively pouring into the Egyptian economy in order to maintain the al-Sisi regime as a very formidable and loyal ally in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean.
As 12 May 2016 learned from MIGnews, Riyadh transferred more than 2 billion dollars to the Central Bank of Egypt to support various areas of the economy to strengthen its position in front of the IMF during negotiations on a multi-billion loan to Egypt. And this gesture Saudis certainly can not be considered a charity event, because a month earlier, 15 April 2016 year, during the visit of King Salman KSA bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud in Cairo, Egypt handed "Near Eastern superpower" two disputed islands - Tiran and Sanafir, possession which gives a number of strategic advantages in the Red Sea. In other words, any military-political "inflammations" of Saudi Arabia, including a conflict with Yemeni Hussites, will certainly have a negative impact on the flow of funds into the economy of Egypt, therefore we see the support of the "Arabian coalition."
It would seem that such a position of Cairo should completely deny any strategic interaction with the Russian Federation that does not support aggression against Yemen, but here the AER was quickly balanced, finding a foothold in another successful military conflict affecting the entire Middle East - the Syrian campaign. At the very beginning of the operation of the Russian Aerospace Forces against ISIS, Dzhebhat An-Nusra and other Islamist terrorist groups in Syria, in October 2015, official Cairo fully supported the Russian Federation, stating that in the end it would lead to the eradication of Islamist sentiments throughout the region . Such a firm position was expressed against the background of sharp criticism of the then IS sponsors - Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The fact for the Arabian "dogs" is unpleasant, but because of the need to retain at least some control over North Africa, it had to be swallowed and tried to "digest" it. Cairo received military-technical dividends from Russia unprecedented since the Six Day War and the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser.
If still in 2014, the armed forces of Egypt have received from the Russian anti-aircraft missile system S-300VM "Antey-2500" army air defense missile system "Buk-M2E" and in 2015, the optional accessories with the simultaneous conclusion of a major contract for the purchase of 50 decked attack helicopters Ka-52 "Katran" for helicopter carriers "Mistral", we recently learned about a much more significant contract that seriously affects the position of Egypt as a powerful regional player.
As reported by the TASS: Military & Defense news agency, a 2 billion contract was signed between Egypt and the Russian Federation for the supply of 52 highly maneuverable MiG-29 multipurpose fighters. According to a number of sources, we are talking about 46 single-seat MiG-29M (MiG-33) and 6 double MiG-29M2 (MiG-35). Almost nothing is reported about the options intended for Egyptian vehicles, but given that the pilots of the Egyptian Air Force have already tested the highest maneuverable characteristics of the French Rafale multi-role fighters, Russian aircraft should receive the most modern versions of onboard electronic equipment, as well as power plants. The most advanced and powerful TRDDF RD-33MK "Sea Wasp" with an afterburner thrust of 9000 kgf (total thrust is 18000 kgf) can be installed as a control system, giving the two-seat and single versions a thrust-to-weight ratio of 1,03-1,1. The angular rate of turn of the MiG-33/35 will not be inferior to the Rafals, but the maximum speed in afterburner mode with a pair of R-77 (RVV-AE) will reach 2200 - 2300 km / h, which is 400-500 km / h faster, than the Raphale.
The cockpit display equipment will include a standard set of 3-x widescreen vertically oriented color MFIs for displaying information from the radar, ACT / laser irradiation detection stations (SOLO), optical-electronic aim-navigation complexes (OEPrNK) OLS-UEM and stations for the detection of attacking missiles (SOAP), as well as tactical data transmitted from other units and information on the status of various flight systems of the aircraft and the presence of weapons on the suspensions. Pilots of double modifications will have the opportunity to change the range of tasks due to the complete duplication of functions of the MFI.
Based on the fact that the onboard radar of the Egyptian versions of the Rafale F3 (Rafale-EM / DM) RBE-2AA are based on the most modern and "energy" AFAR with more than 1000 receiving and transmitting modules, our manufacturer could have machines with similar radar parameters, FGA-29 and Zhuk-AE, were ordered with a target detection range increased to 160-180 km with an 1 2 EPR. In this case, the most likely equipment is already tested on a flying laboratory and fully modified by FGA-29. This version of the “Beetle” has a smaller number of PPM (680) antenna arrays and a smaller diameter (575 mm), but the bandwidth, thanks to modern digital computing base, remained at the same level as, for example, the Irbis-E radar 30 and capture 8 targets simultaneously). The detection range of typical fighter targets is from 100 to 120 km, which is 20% less than that of the Raphael RBE-2AA, but quite acceptable under conditions of advanced optical-electronic sighting systems.
It is known that the Egyptian MiG-29М / М2 will receive sets of unique container stations for electronic countermeasures of ICP-418K. Small articles, fixed to the under-wing hardpoints "Falkrumov" have 160 weight in kg and are able to create complex simulation interference in the centimeter wavelength range G, X and J. Under radome container of this complex are DER antenna radiating elements and electronic countermeasures. The DER antennas detect the radiation source, analyze the parameters of the irradiating signal, and then set certain characteristics of the interfering signal with the imitation of false marks, which have the same signature as the EPR of the interferer. The jamming sectors in the front and rear hemispheres of the ICP-418K container are 90 degrees in the azimuthal and 60 degrees of elevation. The sensitivity of the receiving antennas of the MSP-418K complex is comparable to the antenna parameters of the most powerful ground-based executive electronic intelligence system (IRTR) 1L222 “Avtobaz” and is -85 dB / W.
In addition to simulations, a coherent digital signal processing module built into ICP-418K can provide the generation of noise interference as well as complex interference with a programmable structure. From the microwave switching matrices, the interfering signal is transmitted to the amplifier blocks of the transmitter of the GI-band and HJ-band with a gain of more than 45 dB (the power of the amplifiers exceeds 100 W). Stations MSP-418K are able to counteract the widest range of enemy radar and electronic equipment, including sea, land and airborne surveillance radars, multifunctional tracking, illumination and guidance radars, as well as active and semi-active radar homing heads. The built-in electronic countermeasure stations SPECTRA installed on the Egyptian Rafal are capable of setting up REB at frequencies from 2 to 40 GHz. SPECTRA is based on an 3-sided radiating AFAR with a 120 degree of viewing sector for each antenna array, which indicates the best parameters in terms of targeting interference. But with regards to creating types of interference available for SME-418K, Thales is not informed.
As a result, we have the fact that in 2-3 times more expensive "Rafa" to Egypt are less attractive than the latest Russian MiG29 M / M2 that confirms the order: 24 "Rafale" and 50-52 MiG-29M. As we see, Egypt is slowly but surely strengthening its military-political instruments of influence on the region, and today it is trying not to get involved in major military conflicts in the Middle East. His participation in the Yemeni company is only insignificant, and the economic dependence on Saudi Arabi and its satellites is only partial, and the most interesting is temporary. How Egypt will position itself through 5-10 years, nobody knows yet, but looking at the composition of its Air Force it becomes clear that in the future future Cairo will be able to put forward demands with a swing for regional domination in a rather tough and inconvenient form for its neighbors both in North Africa and in the whole of Front Asia.
PERCENT TRANSITIONAL GENERATION AVIATING EQUIPMENT AND FAR AIR DOSING WILL MAKE NEIGHBORS ENCOURABLE
If you look at the composition of the Egyptian air force in terms of the ratio of promising tactical aviation the transitional generation and the fleet of early generations, including the 4th, we will see the following picture. After the delivery of 52 MiGs and 24 Rafales, the Egyptian Air Force will have 76 multi-role fighters of the 4 ++ generation. On a regional scale, these machines will receive an undeniable superiority over the 102 Israeli F-16I Sufa and partially over the 50 F-35I Adir purchased today. Similarly, Egyptian fighters of transitional generation will establish parity with 70 Saudi tactical F-15S and 72 EF-2000 Typhoon. And here it is necessary to judge not by the number of Egyptian planes, which are fewer than the Israeli and Saudi ones, but by their performance characteristics (especially MiGs), which are significantly higher precisely among the Egyptians.
Next come the 15 Egyptian fighters of the Mirage-2000EM modification and around the 211 F-16C / D Block 40, which can be safely attributed to the 4 + generation. These “tactics” are equipped with conventional on-board radar RDM (on “Mirage”) and AN / APG-68 (V) 5 (on “Falcon 40 Block”) with slot antenna, but have full-fledged ground and sea targets, including terrain mapping. In medium-range and long-range air battles, these fighters can still "fight" with Saudi Strike Needles and Typhoons, as well as with Israeli F-16C Block 52. So, for Rafale and Mirage, the Egyptian Air Force purchased huge arsenals of medium-range air-to-air missiles MICA-EM / IR. These missiles are approximately 1,5 times more maneuverable than the AIM-120C-7 / D missiles, and therefore may well bring victory to the less modern Egyptian Mirage-2000EM in a confrontation with the fighters of the neighbors. Thus, the amount of generation of fighters «4 + / ++» is about 300 fighter, considering that 30 F-16A and 6 double F-16B could also undergo modernization scheme implemented today in relation to Taiwan F-16A Block 20.
The rest of the percentage accounted for fighter-bombers 2-th and 3-th generation, which include: 25-29 F-4E «Phantom-II», 50-interceptor fighters, scouts and UBS versions of MiG-21MF / PFM / P / PA , around 30 multi-purpose fighter F-7 (licensed Chinese version of the MiG-21) and up to 55 multi-purpose fighter type "Mirage-5-E2 / SDE". The latter are purely strike tactical fighter-reconnaissance aircraft to work on ground targets and conduct high-altitude reconnaissance near the theater of operations. "Phantoms" in this series of Egyptian Air Force can be recorded in the favorites. With high-speed characteristics (up 2200 km / h with the presence of weapons on hangers), practical ceiling 21,5 km, and the possibility of integration modern anti-radar missiles and rockets "air-to-air» AIM-120C AMRAAM, F-4E can perform altitude interception stratospheric targets and the suppression of enemy air defenses. Phantoms are also capable of performing attack aircraft functions using NURS containers and air-to-ground tactical missiles of the AGM-65 "Maverick" type.
As a result, we have a fleet of 300 modern multi-purpose fighters of the transition generation (65% of the Air Force) and 160 machines of older generations (35% of the total), which will be adopted by the 2020 year. The total number of fighters in 460 per 160 units will exceed the Royal Air Force of Saudi Arabia and 117 units of the Israeli Air Force. At the same time, the percentage of aircraft "plus" generation of Saudis have barely 43%, and Hel Haavir (after 50 F-35A «Adir») - about 90-95%, including 75 updated on the program «Barak 2020» F- 16C / D, significantly inferior to the hundred F-16I "Sufa".
There is an actively strengthening regional small superpower, which may become a concrete “counterweight” for any military-political process in the Middle East already after 2020. The Turkish fighters TF-X by this point have not yet managed to stand on the wing, and Ankara itself, according to recent events, is carefully and confidently changing its vector in the direction of Russia. For influence in the region of one fighter aircraft fleet may not be enough, and therefore it is worth to evaluate the Egyptian Air Force in the field of early warning assets necessary to coordinate the likely air battles and operations to attack naval and ground targets.
Judging by the information from various sources, the Egyptian Air Force is armed with 7 turboprop aircraft DRLOIU E-2C "Hawkeye", which are undergoing a program to upgrade to the version of "Hawkeye-2000". Hokai are ideal for a small Middle Eastern theater of operations, and the complexity of their maintenance is several times less than, for example, the huge Arabian E-5A “Sentry” at 3. The modernization of the Egyptian E-2C version of Group 0 touched, first of all, the aircraft radar complex: the radar AN / APS-138 “wave channel” design will be replaced by the more modern AN / APS-145. In the “track alignment of targets” mode (tracking along the aisle), this station can operate simultaneously on 2000 air targets and provide accurate targeting simultaneously on 40 targets. The long-range capabilities of the decimeter radar are greatly increased by slowing the rotation of the radar radome with the antenna and simultaneously reducing the frequency of the pulses of the radiating mode. The detection range of the strategic bomber is 650-680 km, the 4-generation fighter with suspensions is 430-550 km. The preparation of all 3 RLC operators is made faster and more qualitatively than the 16 Sentry operators. Modernization of 7 airplanes is carried out by specialists from Northrop Grumman, a developer company, and representatives of the US Navy.
Note that the amount purchased by the Egyptian Air Force "Hawkeye" clearly corresponds to the number of fighter aircraft fleet of Egypt: both raised in the air 7 E-2C can put things on the enemy targets 280 fighters (according 40 each "Hawkeye"), which means that Cairo considers the different situations of combat actions where practically all tactical fleet lifted in air could be necessary.
Hockey-2000 has another very important feature. The upgraded on-board radio-electronic equipment was built around the new high-performance Model 940 computer from Raytheon, which became the basis for the installation of the MATT multi-channel digital tactical module, which can use auxiliary satellite channels for the exchange of tactical information when used by the RAP enemy. Also, special equipment can be installed to exchange data with Sentry airborne military aircraft and surface ships in the CEC combat distribution network. Cooperative Engagement Capability is part of the NIFC-CA naval air defense / missile defense system of the US Navy. To work in the CEC network, the Hokai use a specialized decimeter TTFN communication channel (“Link-16 / CMN-4”), which can work only after installing the AN / USG-3 unit.
It is not known whether the Egyptian E-2C AN / USG-3 will receive, but it is certain that with the help of these planes, the Air Force along with the Egyptian Navy will be able to build a good medium-range naval air defense system based on the transmission of information about the air situation from E-2C on the frigate class "FREMM" "Tahya Misr" and 3 frigate class "Oliver Perry", purchased from the US Navy. "Tahya Misr", built for the Egyptian Navy in the French company DCNS shipyard, the ship is equipped with a SAM "paams", which is due to target designation will be able to intercept anti-ship missiles of the enemy anti-aircraft missiles with interceptor "Aster-30" on the horizon range. 4-6 of the Govind-2500 class corvettes, built for the Egyptian Navy in accordance with the 2014 contract of the year, will also receive higher air defense characteristics. These ships will equip the KZRK self-defense "VL-MICA".
The ability of the Hokaev to detect surface targets at a distance of more than 300 km will play an important role in building the future anti-ship defense of the Egyptian Navy. All surface ships of the Egyptian Navy (including those built «Gowind-2500») will be able to issue in a single salvo of anti-RCC to 190 different classes, and the-horizon targeting will make it to the maximum distance, not coming close to enemy ships to dangerous tens of kilometers.
The highest capabilities of the Egyptian Air Force, as well as a sharp increase in the combat potential of the fleet and their simultaneous inclusion in the modern unified network-centric network, indicate the very large ambitions of this North African state in the new multipolar structure of West Asia and the Middle East: the strategically important Suez Canal is still at disposal of Cairo .
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