Egypt’s latest list of defence platform acquisitions point to a greater need to secure its airspace in the region.

Egypt faces strained relations with Ethiopia, instability in Libya, terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula, and a need to modernise its ageing Soviet-era platforms.

According to GlobalData’s latest ‘Egypt Defence Market Report, 2024-2029’, the country is prioritising numerous fighter jets and missile defence. These priorities suggest the Government’s solution to its problems lies in aerial superiority.

Egypt will continue to modernise its fighter jet fleets as the republic pursues 30 additional Rafale F4 fighter jets from France, on top of the 24 units already delivered, in a deal worth $4.5bn between 2027-36.

The Egyptian Government is also seeking to acquire 46 F-15s from the US, as the US embargo of Russian military systems restricted Egypt from acquiring Sukhoi-35 jets in 2021, jets which will now go to Iran.

In addition, Egypt now seeks India’s Akash surface-to-air missile defence weapon system, which will be worth $3.8bn over the next ten years.

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Akash medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile defence system showcased at the Aero India air show in 2019. Credit: Shutterstock/AjayTvm.

Egypt shifts its focus

Recently, Egypt have shifted their priorities toward securing its airspace, having largely modernised their ground vehicle fleets in the past several years.

Since 2016, the Egyptian Government have been focused on land vehicles. In that time, the Armed Forces inducted 2,500 Panthera T-6 armoured personnel carriers, 79 VAB 4×4 carriers, 114 Sherpa 4x4s, two MT-LB infantry fighting vehicles (from Russia), among hundreds more ground vehicles.

Credit: GlobalData.

This change of priority comes at a suitable time given the form of warfare that is currently playing our in the nearby Red Sea region.

Since autumn last year, Yemen’s Houthi militant group, which controls vast swathes of the country following a 2014 uprising backed by Iran, has been launching missiles and uncrewed aerial systems against commercial shipping in transit through the region, vessels that the Houthis say are supporting Israel’s ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

Likewise, Iran has more recently attacked Israel by the same means, but on a much larger scale.