Egyptian Airforce seeks assistance from India to maintain its Russian-made equipment

In the next weeks, Air Marshal Mohamed Abbas Helmy, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Airforce (EAF), will travel to India to discuss defence cooperation between the two nations, with a special goal of seeking assistance in preserving the Russian military weaponry in its fleet. Since February 24, sanctions and other circumstances have hampered the Russian supply chain, which has impacted the operation of the Egyptian air force’s fleet of 60+ Mil Mi-17 helicopters and 50 MiG-29M/M2 Fulcrums. These challenges are reducing the fleet’s availability for service.

Although the EAF has so far resisted pressure from the West to send Egyptian Fulcrums to Ukraine, it won’t be long before its current fleet of Russian jets begin to experience maintenance problems and supply chain disruptions due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The Klimov RD-33 Series-3 Engine is produced by the Indian state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which also produces the majority of the replacement parts for the Indian Air Force’s MiG-29UPG fleet. As part of the licence manufacturing agreement inked between India and Russia in 2006, HAL’s Koraput plant in the state of Orissa already possesses the technology to produce RD-33 engines. Additionally, HAL converted 60 IAF Mig-29A aircraft into Mig-29UPG aircraft locally in India using parts supplied by Russia, and it also provides engines for 40 Indian Navy Mig-29K aircraft.

To meet its need for 70 advanced jet trainer aircraft with avionics and stores-management capability that can mimic other jets to provide a cost-effective training system for training the aircrew for front-line service, the EAF Chief will visit the HAL facility and probably also fly on a Tejas Trainer aircraft that HAL has offered as LIFT (Lead-In Fighter Trainer).

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