Egypt reveals air defense upgrades

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Egypt reveals air defense upgrades


Egypt has acquired new or upgraded versions of its Russian-made Buk medium-range and Tor short-range surface-to-air missiles systems, a video of a recent air defence exercise that the Ministry of Defence released on 2 November has revealed.

The video shows what looks like a Buk-M2 transporter erector launcher and radar (TELAR) vehicle. Previously, Egypt had the Buk-M1-2 system, which has a TELAR with a mechanically scanned 'Fire Dome' radar that looked identical to the one used with the Buk-M1 system, but fired the new 9M317 missile. The Buk-M2 also uses the 9M317 missile, but its TELAR has a new phased-array radar.




A still from the video of the Egyptian air defence exercise shows what looks like a TELAR from the Buk-M2 medium-range air defence system without any missiles. The associated 'Snow Drift' target acquisition radar can be seen in the background. The Buk-M2 was not previously known to be in Egyptian service. (Egyptian MoD)​


According to its manufacturer, Almaz Antey, the Buk-M2 can simultaneously engage four times the number of targets than the Buk-M1-2.

While the associated command vehicles and 'Snow Drift' target acquisition radar were seen in the exercise footage, Egypt's old Buk-M1-2 TELARs were not on display, raising the possibility that they were upgraded with the new radar or exchanged for newer Buk-M2 counterparts.

Similarly, the video showed Tor systems with phased array target acquisition radars like the one used on the Tor-M2, rather than the mechanically scanned one on the Tor-M1 systems that Egypt has had in its inventory for several years.

The Tor-M2 can simultaneously engage four targets, rather than the one that the Tor-M1 can engage, making it a far more effective point-defence system against saturation attacks.

Meanwhile, Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Co-operation (FSMTC) released a short statement on 14 November denying reports that Egypt has signed a contract to acquire the S-300VM (Antey 2500) long-range air defence system.

The denial came two days after the TASS news agency quoted FSMTC Deputy Director Vyacheslav Dzirkaln as saying: "Venezuela became the first recipient of this system, which is also known under the designation S-300VM. This year the Antey-2500 anti-aircraft system was received by Egypt."

Dzirkaln's seemingly comments confirmed a 23 September report by the Russian business daily Vedomosti that cited unidentified defence industry officials and a source close to the leadership of the state arms export agency Rosoboronexport as saying Egypt had entered into an agreement to buy S-300VM long-range air defence systems for about USD500 million.

St Petersburg's Fontanka newspaper reported on 11 September that the city's Kirov factory had an order to build 22 of the tracked vehicles used with the S-300VM system for an unidentified foreign customer.

The S-300VM is the current export version of a family of air defence systems developed in parallel with the S-300P series. It can use two different missiles, one for intercepting medium-range ballistic missiles, the other for air-breathing targets.

Almaz Antey said the system can destroy all types of aircraft, including those with very low radar cross sections, cruise missiles, and tactical and medium-range ballistic missiles. It can simultaneously engage up to four targets out to a maximum range of 200 km and altitude of 25,000 m.
UPDATE: Egypt reveals air defence upgrades - IHS Jane's 360
 
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