Egypt to receive second batch of Rafale jets from France

Published January 28th, 2016 - 05:44 GMT

Egypt is due to receive the second batch of Rafale fighter jets from France on Thursday, as per the business deal between the two countries, the state-run MENA news agency reported.

The second batch consists of three planes, which will take part in an air parade in Cairo, Giza, and the sixth of October city after their arrival, MENA added.

The addition of the Rafale aircraft to the Egyptian Air Forces "represents a qualitative step in increasing the capacity of the armed forces to carry out its tasks in support of efforts towards security and stability in the Middle East," the source said.

Egypt received the first export contract of Rafale jets last July.

On Feb 16, Egypt sealed a deal with France and purchased the fighter jets, a multi-mission frigate and short and medium-range missiles, from French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation.  

The deal, which was worth over 5 billion euros, was signed in Cairo by the two countries' defence ministers.

MENA quoted a military source as saying the fighter jets represent a "quantum leap" in the "electronic generation of wars", listing their advantages which include the capacity to refuel in the air.

Days ahead of the official signing in February 2015, French president Francois Hollande announced the deal and said it will "allow Egypt to increase its security and play a full role in the service of regional stability."

Egypt has also been receiving some LE9.1 billion ($1.3 billion) in annual US military aid.

Egypt receives aid in the form of weapons and military equipment annually through a US ministry of defence programme called Foreign Military Financing (FMF).

The longstanding US-Egyptians relations witnessed a state of flux after then-President Mohamed Mursi was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. In October 2013, the US State Department announced it would "hold the delivery of certain large-scale military systems [to Egypt] ... pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections."

But in March 2015, Obama completely ended the halt on supplying the Egyptian army with military equipment.

Strategic military equipment supplied to Egypt by the US include F-16 fighter jets, missiles and tank kits.  

Egypt also receives military aid from Russia. In December, Russia signed with Egypt an agreement to deliver 46 helicopters, known as "Ka-52 Alligator helicopters."

For much of the cold war period, Egypt was a traditional export market for Russian arms.

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