Monday, December 11, 2023

China's Chengdu J-10C fighter interests Egypt

Egyptian authorities have begun negotiations to acquire a dozen single-engine Chengdu J-10C fighters, a consequence of tense relations between Cairo and Washington in recent years.

After breaking with the Soviet Union in the 1970s, the Egyptian air forces, then massively equipped with Russian fighters, found themselves in a complex situation, awaiting the delivery of the first American F-16s.

Cairo thus turned, at the beginning of the 1980s, to the Chinese J-7 fighter , an unlicensed copy of the MIG-21 massively used until now by its Air Force. Thus, from 1981 to 1983, nearly 90 J-7s were delivered to Egypt by Beijing, which made it possible to anticipate the withdrawal of the MIG-21s before the first American F-16s were not delivered the following year.

In fact, if during the Cold War, and for many years beyond, Cairo had kept its distance from Russian military equipment, it permanently maintained a commercial relationship with China in this area.

In recent years, Egypt and Russia attempted a rapprochement in this area, initially with the acquisition of 48 Mig-29s, then by negotiating with Paris and Moscow the acquisition of the 2 Mistral assault helicopter carriers. initially intended for service in the Russian Navy.

Cairo was even to acquire a full squadron of the most efficient Russian heavy fighter in production, the Su-35s , made public in 2020, but canceled some time later following threats of American sanctions .

The Chinese Chengdu J-10C could represent an alternative to the Russian Su-35s, which Cairo had to give up under pressure from the United States
The distribution of this photo showing a Su-35s in supposedly Egyptian colors earned its author, Ivan Safronov, a prison sentence.

In any case, today the Egyptian air forces find themselves in a delicate situation to maintain their format. Indeed, many aircraft acquired in the 1980s, F-16, Mirage 2000 and other J-7s, have reached or will soon reach their age limits.

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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