Egypt recently turned heads with its decision to purchase twenty advanced Su-35S fighter jets from Russia. This adds yet another unique airframe to Egypt’s inventory, which currently fields Rafales, two generations of F-16s, MiG-29s modernized to near MiG-35 standard, and two generations of Mirages.

What could the Su-35S add onto this lineup? What could the political repercussions of the buy be?

Given the capabilities of the other aircraft in their fleet, the Egyptian Air Force (EAF) is probably looking into the Su-35S primarily as an air superiority fighter. The Su-35S has an Irbis-E PESA radar that is known to be extremely powerful, although it lacks some advanced functionality of AESA radars.

Su-35Ss also feature advanced thrust vectoring engines and integration with all the latest export Russian air-to-air missiles. This is an advantage over American F-16s, which are not equipped with the latest export AIM-120 AMRAAMs and AIM-9X missiles due to the United States’ desire to preserve the military superiority of Israel in the region.

The Su-35S is also a single cockpit aircraft. While it can shoot the latest Russian air-to-ground munitions, the Egyptian MiG-29M2 (called MiG-35 by some observers) has been delivered with the PPK targeting pod, making it the more likely aircraft to be used by the EAF for air-to-ground work.

The Egyptian MiG-29M2s could also be considered “budget” aircraft not optimal for air-to-air work as their PESA radars are less powerful and versatile than those found in proper MiG-35, which sports an AESA radar.

The MiG-29M2’s PESA isn’t nearly as powerful the Irbis-E PESA found in the Su-35S. The MiG-29M2 also is slower, and a MiG-29 variant (reported as MiG-29M, but also reported as delivered in 2018) is said to have crashed in late 2018 .

ALSO READ  Russian Air Force launches massive attack over northwestern Syria

The biggest question is why the Egyptian Air Force didn’t order more Rafale aircraft from France. Egypt’s Rafales were delivered fairly recently, and the Rafale is considered to be one of the foremost combat aircraft in the world.

They feature AESA radars, an electro-optical targeting system for passive targeting, and integration with the latest European air-to-air missiles. While it is weaker in some areas such as top speed relative to the Rafale, the aircraft are comparable in most aspects.

Familiarity with French design isn’t a factor, as EAF pilots have been operating both French and Soviet/Russian aircraft for decades.

But the Su-35S decision could be political. From 2016 to 2018, Egypt has procured large numbers of advanced Russian equipment, from attack helicopters to surface to air missiles. The Su-35S buy could be an extension of this policy.

But there are plenty of political downsides to this decision. The United States has applied sanctions to the last Su-35S customer, Indonesia.

Also, the addition of a sixth airframe to the EAF’s inventory means that their budget will be stretched further if they plan to train and fly on all their airframes.

Maintaining logistical pipelines for six types of fighter jets is extremely expensive, and training budgets will likely suffer.

 

Source: National Interest

Advertisements
Share this article:
  • 91
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    91
    Shares

Notice: All comments represent the view of the commenter and not necessarily the views of AMN.

All comments that are not spam or wholly inappropriate are approved, we do not sort out opinions or points of view that are different from ours.

This is a Civilized Place for Public Discussion

Please treat this discussion with the same respect you would a public park. We, too, are a shared community resource — a place to share skills, knowledge and interests through ongoing conversation.

These are not hard and fast rules, merely guidelines to aid the human judgment of our community and keep this a clean and well-lighted place for civilized public discourse.

Improve the Discussion

Help us make this a great place for discussion by always working to improve the discussion in some way, however small. If you are not sure your post adds to the conversation, think over what you want to say and try again later.

The topics discussed here matter to us, and we want you to act as if they matter to you, too. Be respectful of the topics and the people discussing them, even if you disagree with some of what is being said.

Be Agreeable, Even When You Disagree

You may wish to respond to something by disagreeing with it. That’s fine. But remember to criticize ideas, not people. Please avoid:

  • Name-calling
  • Ad hominem attacks
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content
  • Knee-jerk contradiction

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Egypt bought MiG-35 because she couldn’t guarantee France being able to pay for more Rafales due to economical factors and having already borrowed a lot to purchase other French gear (Mistral ships, Gowind corvettes)

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Same thing for Su-35. In fact, Egypt has a pretty ageing inventory : the 75 Mirage-5 are about 40y old, Mirage-2000 are 31-33y old, F-16A/B are near 40y old…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

40 F-16A/B were bought, and also 40 F-16C/D block 32 which entered production in 1984. Moreover, F-16 production is now stopped, if one wants new F-16, he’ll have to buy the tooling since…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

… the factory having switched to F-35. Egypt having about 150 fighter-jets in need to be replaced while her total military budget was only $4.003B in 2018 (and $4.8B in 2015)

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Let’s face reality, Egypt military budget is too low, despite being 1.8% of GDP, to aford anything else than Russian or eventually Chinese fighter jets.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Egypt can thank Islamists who made her #1 source of revenues, the tourism, totally collapsing…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Oh, BTW, before the Umar caliphate invasion, the Pyramids were covered with hand-polished bright white limestonecomment image

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

7th century’s ISIS looted it to build their own palacescomment image

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Caliph Umar also destroyed the Great Alexandria Library, the biggest on Earth, books were used to provide combustible for cooking and warming the early jihad…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Which BTW caused at the same time the worst economical crisis in human history, a near 800 years long one, by cutting the silk road.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Did the National Interest took a look at Egyptian military budget before questionning itself why Egypt ordered Su-35 or MiG-35 instead of more Rafales? Answer is simple : about half the price and in both cases…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

A single airframe can do the job of two legacy Mirage-5 (M-5 was the ground attack cheapo version of Mirage-III) and is able to do as much job as legacy F-16A/B or C/D block 32…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

and eventually Mirage-2000, although M-2000 spare-parts supply is guaranteed up to 2030. Another point : there is a serious risk of war with Sudan. Infamous shitlamist Omar al-Bashir is on…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

one side supporting banned Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadis in Egypt, on the other, a war may start with Ethiopia too, this time over a dam on Blue-Nile…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux
Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

The PPK targeting pod is licensed French Thales Damocles targetting pod and can be used on Mirage-2000, Rafale, MiG-35, Su-30/35. Both MiG-35 and Su-35 are fit with the NATO MIL-1553-Std bus…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

allowing to fit western avionics/systems onboard. Egypt could i.e. fit the Elta EL/M 2052 AESA radar, just like India does on her MiG-29 and Mirage-2000 and also to buy…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

I-Derby-ER or Python missiles from Israel. Since India already integrated Israeli and French subsystems in all her Russian aircraft and Israel customised F-16 with…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

AESA radars, missiles and avionics from Israel, France and India in order to upgrade MiG-35/Su-35 systems…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Especially since Israel and India already integrated these on their aircraft and Dassault integrated Russian/Israeli/Indian weapons on Rafale.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

moreover Israel+India already integrated these on their aircraft while their weapons and Russian ones…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Rahh, waitin’4-moderation is boring!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

f**k OFF!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

as all these are already integrated

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

as India had integrated these on Russian aircraft, while Rafale now integrates Indian/Russian/Israeli weapons on Indian demand

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

As integration has been done for India, the French aircraft can also receive Russian weapons now.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

as much as weapons from Russia/Israel/India can be used by Rafale and even Mirage-2000 now.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

And older F-16 can be upgraded by Israeli radars, avionics and weapons, moreover, since they have upgraded Indian aircraft, they have the know how to integrate Russian weapons on F-16.

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

…older F-16 can be upgraded by Israeli radars, avionics and weapons, moreover, since they have upgraded Indian aircraft,…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

they for sure can integrate Russian weapons on F-16…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Elbit, Elta, IAI, etc can obviously upgrade F-16 into carrying Russian weapons too…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

National Interest seems not to get that these platforms are more “open” than many may think!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Now the point I agree with TNI is about the logistical pipeline and I’d add the cost of use and the turnaround capability… Su-35 requires high maintenance and cost thrice as much the hourly cost of Rafale while…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

offering less payload and the ability to fly 3x less missions. When it comes to F-16 or MiG-35, same thing, a Rafale costs the half per hour while doing thrice their job…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

In fact, 36 Rafale do the job of 100 F-16/MiG-35/Su-35 while being on par with F-22 when it comes to air superiority… Nasser ended with a bad surprise in 1967…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

even believing that French AF was helping Israel, simply from the fact that Mirage-III was able to fly 4 missions per 24h while MiG-21 could only do one…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

When you know about the poor reliability of the Flanker’s AL-31F engine and also the Fulcrum’s RD-33, just ask India or Malaysia about it…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

at my personal level, I wouldn’t consider Flanker at all while MiG-35 would be interesting only if once the RD-33 is trashed after 4,000 hours of use only,

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

I’d replace it with M88-9 or M88/K9+, the 91kN or 98kN versions of Rafale’s engine (overhaul at 4k hours, modular engine…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

… so will last as long as the airframe). At €8$ per engine adding mods to adapt M88, neither getting MiG-35 nor customising it…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

provides any economic or strategic advantage. In fact, the order of 56 MiG-35 and 20-24 Su-35 is more psychological than political!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

… to provide any economic or strategic advantage

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

… are advantaeous. In fact, buyin 56 MiG-35 and 20-24 Su-35 is set to keep EAF number of aircraft inventory by replacing obsolete Mirage-5

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

each by one aircraft = keeping the EAF support to al-Sisi as well as for Mubarak, it’s a military dictatorship 😉

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

Don’t look further for the motivations… In fact, on pure economical grounds, in al-Sisi’s place, I’d probably have opted for Chengdu J-10…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

or JF-17 block 3, instead of MiG-35/Su-35, this allowing to unlock money to grow to 54 Rafales…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

another solution being to take a low risk bet : license building the HAL Tejas with the French proposed mods : Rafale’s RB2/AESA, M88/K9+,

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

active stealth and +1000L internal fuel at $45M/unit, being 1.5t lighter than Mirage-2000 w. more thrust = best bang for the buck!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

There’s even a BRS parachute planned to save the aircraft in case of engine failure (!). Note also : Egypt already lost

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

a MiG-35 and its pilot due to fly-by-wire software bug. Considering the number of ageing aircraft in EAF, having an aircraft+engine+avionics/radar factory

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

license building an Indian airframe with French systems common to Rafale and considering a 2 types air-force would end being the best choice…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

with no risk of sanctions added and a really effective replacement to Mirage-5/M-2000/F-16 and as interesting and more reliable than MiG-35…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

while also allowing the funding of more Rafales instead of Su-35. At $65M for Su-35 vs. $73M for Rafale but with the triple cost of use…

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

less payload and the ability to perform 3x less missions, S-35 is no option for me!

Daeshbags-Sux
Guest
Daeshbags-Sux

provides any economic or strategic advantage. In fact, the order of 56 MiG-35 and 20-24 Su-35 is more psychological than political!