Military signs deal with Russia for 46 attack helicopters

Egypt’s Armed Forces have reportedly signed a deal with the Russian Rosoboronexport armaments company for the sale and delivery of 46 attack helicopters. This arms export deal is said to complement its purchase of two French-made Mistral naval helicopter carriers last year.

The London-based Flightglobal website reported on Monday that the Egyptian Armed Forces are in the process of acquiring 46 Kamov Ka-52 attack helicopters to equip its new Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.

Flightglobal reported that the Russian helicopters and French navy vessels are still several months away from delivery, stating that Egypt is likely to recieve the two helicopters by the middle of the year, although no official time frame for delivery has been released. The website, DefenseWorld.net, also reported that Egypt is due to receive its two Mistral ships by the first half of 2016.

Military officials have repeatedly argued that expenditures on new arms deals are part of Egypt’s war on terrorism. For the past 30 years, Egypt’s Armed Forces have relied heavily on American-made attack helicopters – particularly the Apache – in their counter-terrorism efforts in the restive Sinai Peninsula.

Yet since the military-backed ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egypt’s military has sought to move away from its reliance on US-made armaments, instead turning to Russia, France, Germany, and to a lesser extent, China, for new sources of weaponry.

Early in 2015, Egypt signed a contract for the purchase of 24 French-made Rafale jetfighters costing the country 5.2 billion euros, reportedly facilitated through a French loan. The purchase of the two Mistral ships are reported to cost an additional 950 million euros.

Last month, the Armed Forces went on to order four attack submarines from Germany, a purchase that is estimated by German outlets to cost around 920 million euros.

Amid much fanfare, Egypt received one of these German subs last month, while the remaining three are reportedly still being constructed.

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