Egyptian Air Force

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Egyptian Air Force
القوات الجوية المصرية
Egyptian Air Force emblem.svg
Egyptian Air Force emblem

1932 (as part of the army)

1937 (as an independent service) – present (84 years)
Country  Egypt
Allegiance Egypt
Branch Air Force
Type Military aviation
Role Aerial Warfare
Size 30,000 personnel (As of 2014)[1]
20,000 Reserve (As of 2014)[1]
1,136 aircraft (As of 2016)[2]
Part of Coat of arms of Egypt (on flag).svg Egyptian Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Oruba street, Nasr City, Cairo
Nickname(s) Eagles protect Egypt's sky
Motto 'Higher and higher for the sake of glory' (Arabic: إلى العلا في سبيل المجد‎, I‘la’ al-a‘là fī sabīl al-magd)
Colors Cyan, Red, White and Black
March Oh Eagles fever oh invaders sky
Anniversaries 14th of October (Mansura Air Battle)[3]
Equipment Egyptian military aircraft
Engagements see History
Commander-in-Chief Air Marshal Younes Hamed
Chief of Air Staff Fouaad Fouaad Abu el-Nasr[4]
Hosni Mubarak
Ahmed Shafik/Reda Hafez
Air Force Ensign Eafflag.svg
Roundel Egyptian Air Force Roundel.svg
Aviator badge EAF Aviator badge.png
Insignia Egyptian Air Force ranks
Aircraft flown
Attack F-16, Dassault Rafale , Alpha Jet MS.2, L-59
E-2HE2K, Beechcraft 1900, C-130, Commando Mk.2E, Mi-8
Fighter F-16, Mirage-2000, Mirage V , Dassault Rafale
Attack helicopter AH-64 Apache, Mil Mi-8, Aérospatiale Gazelle SA-342
Interceptor F-16 Fighting Falcon, Mirage 2000, Dassault Rafale , J-7
Patrol Beechcraft 1900, SA-342
Reconnaissance M-324, Mi-8, Mirage V
Trainer K-8, EMB 312, G-115, UH-12
Transport C-130, C-295, An-74

The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) (Arabic: القوات الجوية المصرية‎, Al-Qūwāt al-Gawwīyä al-Miṣrīyä), is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal (Lieutenant General equivalent). Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Younes Hamed. The force's motto is 'Higher and higher for the sake of glory' (Arabic: إلى العلا في سبيل المجد‎, I‘la’ al-a‘là fī sabīl al-magd).

The Egyptian Army Air Service was formed in 1932, and became an independent air force in 1937. It had little involvement in the Second World War. From 1948 to 1973 it took part, with generally mediocre results, in four separate wars with Israel, as well as the quasi-War of Attrition. It also supported the Egyptian Army during the North Yemen Civil War and the Libyan-Egyptian War of 1977. From 1977 to 2011 it saw virtually no combat, but has participated in numerous exercises, including Operation Bright Star since 1985. In recent years the Air Force has acted in the Sinai Insurgency, the Libyan Civil War and the Intervention in the Yemen.

The Air Force's backbone are 220 F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters. The Egyptian Air Force is the 4th largest operator of F-16s in the world, after the United States, Israel, and Turkey.[5]



Egyptian Air Force Insignia (1937–1958)
Royal Egyptian Air Force ensign

In late 1928, the Parliament of Egypt proposed the creation of an Egyptian Air Force. The Egyptian ministry of war announced that it needed volunteers for the new arm to become the first four Egyptian military pilots. Over 200 Egyptian officers volunteered, but in the end only three succeeded in passing strict medical tests and technical examinations.

These three went to RAF Station Abu Sueir Royal Air Force No 4 Flying Training School (No 4 FTS) located near the Suez Canal, where they were trained on a variety of aircraft. After graduation, they travelled to the United Kingdom for specialised training.

First three Egyptian pilots

On 2 November 1930, the King of Egypt and Sudan, Fuad I announced the creation of the Egyptian Army Air Force (EAAF). On 27 May 1931 the Egyptian Council of Ministers approved the purchase of five aircraft and the building of an airfield at Almaza with a budget of 50,000 pounds. The aircraft chosen was the British de Havilland Gipsy Moth trainer, the five modified aircraft were flown from England to Egpyt and on arrival in May 1932 the air force was founded and the Almaza airfield was formally opened.

The first commander of the EAAF was Squadron Leader Victor Hubert Tait RAF, a Canadian, former Senior Air Advisor on the British Military Mission in Egypt. Tait selected staff, weapons and built a number of airfields. In 1934 the British government provided ten Avro 626 aircraft, which were the first real Egyptian military planes. A further 17 626s together with Hawker Audaxes for army cooperation and close support and Avro Ansons for VIP work followed shortly afterward.

In 1937 the Egyptian Army Air Force was separated from the Army Command and became an independent branch named the Royal Egyptian Air Force (REAF). New stations were built in the Suez Canal Zone, and the Western Desert.

During 1938 the REAF received two squadrons of Gloster Gladiator biplane fighters and a squadron of then-modern Westland Lysander reconnaissance aircraft, Egypt was the last state to use the Lysander in action, during the Palestine War of 1948.

Second World War[edit]

Egyptian airplanes flying over Koubbeh Palace in celebration of King Farouk I and Queen Farida's wedding.

As the Egyptian border was threatened by an Italian and German invasion during the Second World War, the Royal Air Force established more airfield in Egypt. The Royal Egyptian Air Force was sometimes treated as a part of the Royal Air Force, at other times a strict policy of neutrality was followed as Egypt maintained its official neutrality until very late in the war. As a result, few additional aircraft were supplied by Britain, however the arm did receive its first modern fighters, Hawker Hurricanes and a small number of Curtiss P-40 Tomahawks. In the immediate post-war period, cheap war surplus aircraft, including a large number of Supermarine Spitfire Mk.IXs were acquired.

A roughly 1946 order of battle for the Air Force can be found in Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II.

1948 Arab-Israeli War[edit]

Main article: 1948 Arab-Israeli War
Israeli Avia S-199 chasing one of two Egyptian aircraft which had been bombing Tel Aviv on June 3rd 1948

Following the British withdrawal from the British Protectorate of Palestine and the establishment of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, Egyptian forces crossed into Palestine as part of a wider Arab League military coalition in support of the Palestinians against the Israelis. The Egyptian Air Force contribution included the Short Stirling bomber,[6] Douglas C-47 Dakotas performing as light bombers and Spitfires.

Two Israeli aircraft were shot down and on 22 May 1948, Egyptian Spitfires attacked the RAF airfield at Ramat David, believing the airfield had already been taken over by Israeli forces. The first raid surprised the British, and resulted in the destruction of several RAF aircraft on the ground, and the deaths of four airmen. The British were uncertain whether the attacking Spitfires had come from Arab or Israeli forces. When second and third raids followed shortly afterwards, the British were ready and the entire Egyptian force was shot down – the last aircraft being baited for some time as the RAF pilots attempted to get a close look at its markings.

Relations with Britain were soon restored and the official state of war with Israel ensured that arms purchases continued. New Spitfire Mk. 22s were purchased to replace the earlier models. In late 1949, Egypt received its first jet fighter, the British Gloster Meteor F4 and shortly after de Havilland Vampire FB5s.

Egypt's bombardment of Tel Aviv during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
Nitzanim after the Egyptian bombardment during the Battle of Nitzanim

The Egyptians made continuous attempts to purchase heavy arms from Czechoslovakia years before the 1955 deal.[7] The Egyptian Government was determined to move away from reliance on British armaments.

In 1955, under President Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt began acquiring weaponry, including aircraft, from the Soviet Union. Initial Soviet deliveries included MiG-15 fighters, Ilyushin Il-28 bombers, Il-14 transports, and Yak-11 trainers. Instructors from Czechoslovakia accompanied these aircraft. This period in the Egyptian Air Force's history also yielded the first indigenous aircraft production as the country began manufacturing its own Czechoslovak-designed Gomhouria Bü 181 Bestmann primary trainers.

The Suez Crisis[edit]

Main article: Suez Crisis
MiG-17 underside

After the Egyptian Government's nationalisation of the Suez Canal in 1956, Egypt was attacked by Israel, France, and the United Kingdom in what came to be known as the Suez Crisis. Heavy losses were sustained by the Egyptian side. The conflict, though devastating militarily, turned out to be a political victory for Egypt, and resulted in the total withdrawal of the tri-nation aggressor forces from the country. It also forced the EAF to begin rebuilding with non-British help.

In 1958, Egypt merged with Syria to form the United Arab Republic, and the previously separate Egyptian, and Syrian forces were combined as the United Arab Republic Air Force. Though Syria left the union in 1961, Egypt continued to use the union's official name until 1971, including for its air force.

By the mid-1960s, British aircraft had been replaced completely by Soviet hardware. The Soviet Union became the principal supplier of the EAF, and many other Arab states. This allowed the EAF to greatly modernise and boost its combat effectiveness. The MiG-21 Fishbed arrived in the early 1960s, bringing with it a Mach 2 capability. The MiG-21 would remain Egypt's primary fighter for the next two decades. In 1967, Egypt had 200 MiG-21s. The EAF also began flying the Sukhoi Su-7 fighter/bomber in the mid-1960s.

Egypt also began the Helwan HA-300 as its first supersonic aircraft. It never went beyond its 3 prototypes and initial test flights, then was abandoned due to high military cost inflicted upon the Egyptian military involvement in the Yemen War and the defeat in the 1967 war with Israel.

The Yemen War[edit]

Main article: North Yemen Civil War
Destruction resulted by the Egyptian bombardment on the city of Ma'rib

The Yemeni Royalist side received support from Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, while the Yemeni Republicans were supported by Egypt. The fighting was fierce, featuring heavy urban combat as well as battles in the countryside. Both foreign irregular and conventional forces were also involved.

Strategically, the Yemen War was an opportunity for Israel. It stagnated Egyptian military plans for the reinforcement of Sinai, by shifting the Egyptian military focus to another theater of operation. Egyptian historian Mohammed Heikal writes that Israel provided arms shipments and also cultivated relationships with hundreds of European mercenaries fighting for the Royalists in Yemen. Israel established a covert air-supply bridge from Djibouti to North Yemen. The war also gave the Israelis the opportunity to assess Egyptian combat tactics and adaptability.

Egyptian air and naval forces began bombing and shelling raids in the Saudi southwestern city of Najran and the coastal town of Jizan, which were staging points for royalist forces. In response, the Saudis purchased a British Thunderbird air defense system and developed their airfield in Khamis Mushayt. Riyadh also attempted to convince the United States to respond on its behalf. President Kennedy sent only a wing of jet fighters and bombers to Dhahran Air base, demonstrating to Egypt the seriousness of his commitment to defending U.S. interests in Saudi Arabia.

The Six-Day War[edit]

Main article: Six-Day War
Israeli troops examine destroyed Egyptian aircraft.

In the 1967 Six-Day War the EAF's combat capacity was severely damaged after the Israeli Air Force destroyed its air bases in a preemptive strike codenamed Operation Focus. During the last four days the EAF conducted only 150 sorties against Israeli units throughout the Sinai.[8] After the war, the Soviet Union replenished EAF stocks, sending large numbers of aircraft and advisors to Egypt to revitalise the EAF.

The War of Attrition[edit]

EAF bomber of the model Ilyushin Il-28 bombing Israeli targets east the suez canal during the attrition war
Main article: War of Attrition

The years between 1967 and 1970 involved a prolonged campaign of attrition against Israel. The EAF went through a massive construction program to build new air bases in order to increase its survivability. During this period Egypt also received replacements for losses it suffered during the Six Day War. The EAF was the first branch of the Egyptian armed forces to achieve full combat readiness.

On 15 July 1967, six Israeli Mirage III fighters violated Egyptian airspace and orders were given for two formations each consisted of two MiG-21 fighters to intercept, another formation of 2 MiGs piloted by Major Fawzy Salama & Lieutenant Medhat Zaki was ready in West Cairo airbase. Indeed, the formation took off, but for protecting the airbase rather than supporting the interception.

However Maj. Fawzy insisted on supporting the Egyptians already engaging Israeli fighters and ordered his wingman to follow him. Once the reinforcement arrived Israeli Mirages immediately broke out of the fight.

October War 1973[edit]

Main article: Yom Kippur War
Israeli Mirage III shot down by Egyptian MiG-21 during October war

The EAF was involved in the raid with over 220 aircraft taking part in the initial phase. Unlike their Syrian counterparts, EAF aircraft evaded Israeli radars by flying below detection height. EAF aircraft were held in reserve after that point, mainly concentrating on airfield defence in conjunction with the SA-3 'Goa', while the more mobile SA-6 'Gainful' protected Egyptian forces at low and medium level, aided by the ZSU-23-4SP and shoulder-held SA-7 SAMs.

Despite these limitations, the EAF conducted offensive sorties from time to time. The Su-7BM was used for quick strafe attacks on Israeli columns and the Mirage IIIE (sometimes confused with the Mirage 5), donated by Libya, carried out long-range attacks deep inside Sinai at Bir Gifgafa.

However, when Israeli armoured forces used a gap between the two Egyptian armies to cross the Suez Canal (Operation Stouthearted Men), they destroyed several Egyptian SAM sites, forcing the EAF into battle against the IAF. The EAF claimed victories and continued to contest IAF operations, while also launching attacks on Israeli ground forces on the East Bank of the Suez Canal. In most of these engagements, Egyptian MiG-21s (of all types) challenged Israeli Mirage IIICJs or Neshers.[9]

Egyptian fighter jets of the model Sukhoi Su-7 conducting air strikes over Bar Lev Line during Yom Kippur War, 6 October 1973

The IAF did not operate freely and did not have complete air supremacy it enjoyed during the previous conflict, the 1967 war. Egyptian MiGs were used with better efficiency than before which included the tactics and lessons learned from the 1967 war.[10]

It was during this war that the EAF applied the lessons it earlier learnt from the Israelis. A 32-year-old deputy MiG-21 regiment commander who has been flying since he was 15 recalls: "During the war of attrition, the Israeli air force had a favorite ambush tactic", he told Aviation Week and Space Technology. "They would penetrate with two aircraft at medium altitude where they would be quickly picked up by radar, We would scramble four or eight to attack them. But they had another dozen fighters trailing at extremely low altitude below radar coverage. As we climbed to the attack they would zoom up behind and surprise us. My regiment lost MiGs to this ambush tactic three times. But we learned the lesson and practiced the same tactics. In the final fights over Deversoir, we ambushed some Mirages the same way, and my own 'finger four' formation shot down four Mirages with the loss of one MiG."[11]

El-Mansourah air battle[edit]

On 14 October 1973, Israel launched a large scale raid with over 250 aircraft – F-4 Phantoms and A-4 Skyhawks – attempting to hit the large air base at el-Mansourah. It culminated in an almost continuous dogfight lasting no less than 53 minutes. According to Egyptian estimates over 180 aircraft were involved at one time, the majority belonging to the Israelis. At 10 pm local time, Cairo Radio broadcast "Communiqué Number 39", announcing that there had been several air battles that day over a number of Egyptian airfields, that most intensive being over the northern Delta area. It also claimed that 15 enemy aircraft had been downed by Egyptian fighters for the loss of three Egyptian aircraft, while an even greater number of Israelis had been shot down by the Army and the Air Defense Forces over Sinai and the Suez Canal. For its part, Israel Radio claimed, early the following morning, that the IAF had shot down 15 Egyptian aircraft, a figure subsequently reduced to seven.[12]

Later on, the Egyptian Government changed the country’s "Air Force Day" from 2 November to 14 October, to commemorate the Mansourah air battle.[12]

Shaba I[edit]

Main article: Shaba I

During the Shaba I crisis in Zair on 1977, Egyptian Air Force provided 50 pilots and technicians, which operated Mirage jets from the Zairian Air Force.

Libyan-Egyptian War[edit]

Main article: Libyan-Egyptian War

During the 1977 Libyan-Egyptian War, there were some skirmishes between Libyan and Egyptian fighters.[13] In one instance, two Libyan Air Force MiG-23MS engaged two EAF MiG-21MFs that had been upgraded to carry Western weaponry. The Libyan pilots made the mistake of trying to manoeuvre with the more nimble Egyptian fighters, and one MiG-23MS was shot down by EAF Maj. Sal Mohammad, while the other Libyan aircraft used its speed advantage to escape.

Sinai Insurgency[edit]

Main article: Sinai Insurgency

The Egyptian Air Force operated on a large scale during the Sinai insurgency which commenced in 2011. AH-64 Apache helicopters and F-16 jet fighters bombed numerous militant targets on almost a daily basis.[citation needed]

2014 Libyan Civil Conflict[edit]

Main article: 2014 Libyan conflict

During the 2014 Libyan Civil Conflict there were conflicting reports that Egyptian warplanes bombed Islmaist militias in support of the government based in Tobruk. The foreign ministry denied any involvement in the conflict although unnamed Egyptian military officials claimed otherwise.[14]

2015 airstrikes in Libya[edit]

On the dawn of 16 February 2015, Egyptian war planes launched an intensive air strike on multiple Islamic State positions that included weapons caches and training camps. The air strikes came in response for the execution of 21 Egyptian workers by masked militants affiliated to the Islamic State. The Egyptian airstrikes killed 64 Islamic State fighters, including three of the leadership, in the coastal cities of Derna and Sirte, the Libyan army said.[15]

2015 military intervention in Yemen[edit]

As a part of a Saudi-led joint regional military operation, the Egyptian Air Force participated in airstrikes against Houthis in Yemen.

The Egyptian air force supported pro-government forces when they attacked al-Anad airbase south of Yemen. "EAF and paratroopers aerial supported Yemeni ground forces who have now seized the military base killing scores of Houthi rebels.[16]

Operation Bright Star[edit]

A right side view of aircraft in flight over the desert during exercise Bright Star '82. The aircraft are from front to back: a MiG-21PFM, F-16 Fighting Falcon, MiG-15UTI and an A-10 Thunderbolt II
EAF F-16C block 40 flies over Egypt with a USN F/A-18 and a USAF F-15 on 28 September 2005.
Main article: Operation Bright Star

Since 1977 the Air Force has seen little active service. Perhaps its most intense training opportunity has become Operation Bright Star, a U.S. Central Command exercise. From 1985 onwards the air forces of both the U.S. and Egypt started participating in what was previously an Army only bilaterial exercise. Starting in 1987 the Navies and Special Operations Forces from both countries have also taken part in the exercise. At least nine other states now take part.

Upgrade and development[edit]

Egyptian F-16 Air Refueling

The Camp David Accords caused a gradual change in the overall composition of the EAF. The EAF began to rely more on US, French and in some cases on Chinese aircraft. The addition of these aircraft from multiple sources along with the ones already in the EAF inventory caused increasing serviceability problems. In 1982, the EAF began receiving F-16 fighters under the Peace Vector Program. As of 2015, the EAF received a total of 220 F-16s. 18 aircraft were lost in accidents and 7 F-16A/Bs were grounded. These grounded F-16A/Bs were later overhauled, upgraded and returned to active service, additional F-16s were acquired to replace those lost. In 1986, the EAF received the French Mirage 2000 fighters, one was lost in a training accident. Egypt also license-built Alphajets, Tucano airplanes and Westland Gazelle helicopters. In 1987 the E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning (AEW) entered service and was upgraded with advanced AN/APS-145 radars. The EAF also upgraded its F-16 fighters to C/D standard that enabled them to fire the AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile.

The EAF currently operates 46 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters 36 of which were initially delivered as the AH-64A variant but were later upgraded to AH-64D standard.[17] On 22 May 2009, Egypt requested the purchase of 36 Apache Arrowhead sensor systems as part of an order for 12 Block II AH-64D Apache helicopters. The number was later reduced to 10 Helicopters.

The Egyptian Navy recently received the SH-2G Seasprite to supplement their Sea King and Gazelle helicopters.[18] 74 Grob G-115's and 120 K-8 Karakorum trainers were also ordered.[18]


The Egyptian Air Force operated 220 F-16s at that point

During the late 1990s, then Air Marshal Ahmed Shafik (the former Civil Aviation minister until 2011) outlined an ambitious modernization program for the Egyptian Air Force in the 21st century. The EAF planned to obtain the modern technology it needed to deter any foreign aggression, help its allies and protect national security interests. This modernization included the integration of space and air reconnaissance systems, acquisition of airborne command and control capability, aerial refueling capability, advanced next generation fighters and heavy transport aircraft.

Egypt made several deals with Ukrainian companies for the modernization of its old MiG-21 fleet but these deals were not implemented and no future plans to modernize the fleet of Mig-21s were put in place.

On 3 March 2010, The EAF ordered 20 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft.[19] The contract was set to complete in 2013 and included 16 single-seat F-16C and four twin-seat F-16D aircraft.

Egypt became the Rafale's first international customer when it officially ordered 24 Rafales

On 14 August 2012, the US pushed the F-16 project for to ensure full cooperation with the new military leadership. The Defense Department awarded a major contract to facilitate the procurement of F-16s by the EAF. The Pentagon selected American International Contractors for a $66.6 million contract to upgrade infrastructure for Egypt’s order of 20 F-16 Block 52 aircraft, estimated at $2.2 billion.[20] On 24 July 2013, the U.S. announced it would halt deliveries of the F-16s in response to the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état.[21] In March, 2015 the US announced the resumption of the deliveries of the F-16s, the last of which was delivered in October, 2015.[22][23]

On 16 February 2015, Egypt became the Rafale's first international customer when it officially ordered 24 Rafales,[24] as part of a larger deal (including a FREMM multipurpose frigate and a supply of missiles) worth US$5.9 billion (€5.2 billion).[25][26][27] In July 2015, the official ceremony, marking the acceptance by Egypt of its first 3 Rafales, was held at the Dassault Aviation flight test center in Istres.[28] In January 2016, Egypt received three more Rafale fighters, raising the number of Rafales in service to six. [29] All six aircraft are two-seat models and were diverted from delivery to the French Air Force; Egypt's total 24-plane order is for 8 single-seat models and 16 two-seaters.[30]

46 Ka-52 Alligators and an unknown number of Ka-52Ks are on order

In April 2014, it was reported that Egypt plans to order 24 MiG-35 fighters as part of an arms deal.[31][32] MiG head Sergei Korotkov said at the 2015 Aero India exposition they will provide the fighters if Egypt orders them and are ready to negotiate.[33] Russia agreed on a contract with Egypt for 46 MiG-35 fighters and is expected to be worth up to $2 billion.[34][35][36] Russia plans to supply the Egyptian MiG-35s with 40 high precision targeting pods. Deliveries would begin in 2016.[37]

Russia and Egypt signed a contract for delivery of 50 Ka-52 helicopters.[38] The Ka-52 will be equipped with the new OES-52 targeting system allowing it to launch Vikhr and Ataka anti-tank missiles using laser target direction systems. The execution of the contract will start in 2016 until 2018.[39][40]

SAGEM and AOI-Aircraft Factory have signed a collaboration agreement concerning the Patroller UAV. AOI-Aircraft Factory could handle final assembly of the drones and will develop a dedicated training center in Egypt to train staff for the operation and maintenance of the drone systems.[41]


An Egyptian order for Airbus A400M military transport aircraft is looking increasingly plausible and Spanish media confirming initial reports of such a sale say that up to 12 aircraft could be involved.

Egypt is in an advanced stage of negotiations for the purchase of the Russian strategic airlifter Il-76MD-90A. The first export contracts of the aircraft will be signed within 4–6 months after the MAKS-2015 Airshow.[42]

Airbus Defence and Space received from Egypt its first order of A400M. Egypt asked the company to have the A400M as soon as possible.[43][44]

Rosoboronexport and the Russian Helicopters holding are engaged in consultations with their Egyptian partners concerning a possible acquisition of Kamov Ka-52K ship-based helicopters for the 2 Mistral-class helicopter carriers that Egypt has agreed to buy from France.[45] An Egyptian Air Force delegation had access to the helicopter before the official opening of the MAKS- 2015.[46]

The Egyptian Navy is under negotiations for the purchase of a significant number of NH90 helicopters. Egypt may choose between the tactical transport (TTH) and naval (NFH) versions, or a mix of the two. The NFH can operate from Gowind-class corvettes or FREMM frigates, and both variants can be based on Mistral-class helicopter carriers.[47]

Egypt plans to purchase two French military satellites. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is working towards signing a deal with Thales Alenia Space to purchase an observation satellite and a military telecommunications satellite. The contract of the deal amounts to approximately one billion euros for the two satellites. [48]


Historical aircraft[edit]

Current inventory[edit]

Type Origin Class Role Introduced In service No. Notes
Aero L-59 Super Albatros Czechoslovakia Jet Trainer 47 48 [49]
Alpha Jet Egypt Jet Attack/trainer 45 45 [49]
Antonov An-74 Ukraine Jet Transport 3 3 [50]
AgustaWestland AW109 Italy Rotorcraft Utility 3 [49]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy Rotorcraft Utility 2 [51]
Beechcraft 1900 USA Jet Transport/patrol 10 [49]
Beechcraft Super King Air USA Jet Transport 1 1 [49]
Boeing AH-64 Apache USA Rotorcraft Attack 44 [52]
Boeing CH-47 Chinook USA Rotorcraft Transport 19 19 [49]
C-295 Spain Propeller Transport 24 24 [53]
Chengdu J-7 China Jet Fighter 60 150 [49]
DHC-5 Buffalo Canada Propeller Transport 8 [49]
Dassault Mirage 5 France Jet Fighter 1973 82 82 [49]
Dassault Mirage 2000 France Jet Multirole 18 20 [49]
Dassault Rafale France Jet Multirole 6 6 [54]
EMB 312 Tucano Egypt Propeller Trainer 54 134 [49]
Grob G-115 Tutor Germany Propeller Trainer 74 [49]
K-8 Karakorum Egypt Jet Trainer 120 120 [49]
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon USA Jet Multirole 220 240 [55]
Lockheed C-130 Hercules USA Propeller Transport 26 30 [49]
Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye USA Propeller Patrol 9 [56]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 USSR Jet Fighter 56 490+ [49]
Mil Mi-8/Mil Mi-17 USSR/Russia Rotorcraft Transport 60 [49]
Aerospatiale SA-342 Gazelle Egypt Rotorcraft Utility 90 108 [49]
Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite USA Rotorcraft Attack/patrol 13 [49]
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk USA Rotorcraft Transport/utility 2 [49]
Westland Sea King UK Rotorcraft Transport/patrol 23 [49]

Future aircraft[edit]

Type Origin Class Role Introduced In service No. Notes
Mikoyan MiG-35 Russia Jet Multirole 2016 0 50 [57][58]
Kamov Ka-52 Russia Rotorcraft Attack 2017 0 46 [59]
Kamov Ka-52K Russia Rotorcraft Attack 0 [60]
Mil Mi-35 Russia Rotorcraft Attack/transport 0 [61]

Planned aircraft[edit]

Type Origin Class Role Introduced In service No. Notes
Airbus A400M Atlas Spain Propeller Transport 0 12 [62]
Ilyushin Il-76 Russia Jet Transport 0 [63]
NHIndustries NH90 France Rotorcraft Attack/patrol 0 [64]

Presidential and governmental (VIP) fleet[edit]

In addition to Air Force aircraft, a number of aircraft are directly under government control to transfer the President of Egypt, presidential logistics, the Prime Minister and members of the government, including:

Airplane Origin Number
Airbus A340 France 1
Beechcraft Super King Air USA 4
Boeing 707 USA 1
Boeing 737 USA 4
Dassault Falcon 20 France 3
Gulfstream III USA 2
Gulfstream IV USA 4
VC-130H Hercules USA 1
Sikorsky H-3 Sea King USA 2
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk USA 2
Westland Commando MK-2B UK 2

UAVs and target drones[edit]

Target drone

Aircraft insignia[edit]

The Roundel of the EAF consists of three circles, with the outside one being red, the middle one white, and the inner one being black, matching the Egyptian flag. Former roundels of the EAF included a similar variant with two green stars used from 1961 to 1973, and one with the old Egyptian crescent and three stars on a green background. Changes in markings reflect political changes.

Wing roundel Fuselage marking Tail marking Era
Royal Egyptian Air Force roundel (1932).svg Roundel of Egypt 02.gif Fin flash of Egypt.gif 1932 — 1932
Royal Egyptian Air Force roundel (1939-1945).svg Royal Egyptian Air Force roundel (1939-1945).svg Fin flash of Egypt.gif 1932 — 1945
Egyptian Air Force roundel (1945-1958).svg Egyptian Air Force roundel (1945-1958).svg Egypt fin flash.svg 1945 — 1958
Roundel of the Syrian Air Force.svg Roundel of the Syrian Air Force.svg Flag of Syria.svg 1958 — 1972
Egyptian Air Force Roundel.svg Egyptian Air Force Roundel.svg Flag of Egypt (1972-1984).svg 1972 — 1984
Egyptian Air Force Roundel.svg Egyptian Air Force Roundel.svg Flag of Egypt.svg 1984–present

Egyptian Air Force ranks[edit]

Egyptian Air Force ranks
Commissioned Officers & Enlisted personnel
Shoulder straps —- Pilot Officer - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Flying Officer - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Flight Lieutenant - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Squadron Leader - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Wing Commander - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Group Captain - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Air Commodore - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Air Vice-Marshal - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Air Marshal - Egyptian Air Force rank.png Air Chief Marshal - Egyptian Air Force rank.png
Patches Aircraftman Corporal Sergeant Master Sergeant Pilot Officer Flying Officer Flight Lieutenant Squadron Leader Wing Commander Group Captain Air Commodore Air Vice-Marshal Air Marshal Air Chief Marshal
Code NATO OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6 OF-7 OF-8 OF-9 OF-10 OF-11 OF-12 OF-13 OF-14

List of bases and units[edit]

EAF Pilot

  • 242nd Tactical Fighter Wing (Beni Suef)
    • 68th Training fighters squadron
    • 70th Training fighters squadron
  • 262nd Tactical Fighter Wing (Abu Suwayr Air Base)
    • 60th Training fighters squadron
  • 104th Fighter Brigade (Al Mansourah)
    • 22nd Squadron
    • 45th Squadron
    • 49th Squadron
  • 545th Tactical Helicopter Wing (El Nouzha Airport, Alexandria)
    • 7th Squadron
    • 11th Squadron
    • 37th Squadron
  • 550th Attack Helicopter Brigade
    • 51st squadron (Wadi Al Jandali)
    • 52nd squadron (Az Zaqaziq/Abu Hamad)

Bilbeis Air Base[edit]

  • 117 Primary Training Brigade
  • 117 Basic Training Brigade
    • 83rd squadron
    • 84th squadron
    • 85th squadron
  • Air Navigation School

Tanta Air Base[edit]

  • 236 FGA Brigade
    • 69th squadron
    • 73rd squadron

Almaza Air Force Base[edit]

  • 516 Transport Brigade
    • 2nd squadron
    • 40th squadron
    • ... squadron
    • ... squadron
  • .... Transport Brigade

Cairo Air Base[edit]

  • .. Transport Brigade
    • 4th squadron
    • 16th squadron

Cairo West Air Base[edit]

Aerial view of Cairo West Airport the staging site for aircraft participating in BRIGHT STAR '83, the joint U.S. and Egyptian military training exercise. Three U.S. Air Force B-52 bombers are on the parking ramp
U.S. Air Force personnel work in the U.S. Central Air Force's Logistics Readiness Center established at Cairo West Air Base, Egypt, on Oct. 1, 1999, during Exercise Bright Star '99/00. Bright Star is a joint/combined command post and tactical field exercise in Egypt involving over 50,000 participants from 11 countries. The annual exercise is designed to improve readiness and interoperability between U.S., Egyptian and coalition forces. These personnel, deployed from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. and Robins Air Force Base, Ga., are responsible for all Harvest Falcon assets, supply, re-supply, and local area purchase needs for Bright Star 99/00.
  • 601 AEW Brigade
    • 87th squadron
  • 222 Tact Fighter Brigade
    • 76th squadron
    • 78th squadron

El Minya Air Base[edit]

  • Weapon Training Brigade
    • ..squadron
  • Flying Training Brigade
    • 201 squadron
  • .. Helicopter Training Brigade
    • .. squadron

Fayed Air Base[edit]

  • 282 Tactical Fighter Wing
    • 86th TFS squadron
    • 88th FTS squadron

Gebel el Basur Air Base[edit]

  • 252 Tactical Fighter Wing
    • 71st squadron
    • 82nd squadron
  • 203 Tactical Fighter Wing
    • 34th squadron "Wolves" on Rafale

Hurghada Air Base[edit]

  • 53rd Helicopter Brigade
    • .. squadron
  • .. Fighter Brigade
    • ... squadron

Inshas Air Base[edit]

  • 232 Tact Fighter Wing
    • 72nd TFS squadron

Gianaclis New Air Base[edit]

  • 272 Tact Fighter Wing
    • 75th TFS squadron
    • 77th TFS squadron
    • 79th TFS squadron
  • 546 ECM Brigade
    • 81st squadron

Kom Oshim Air Base[edit]

  • .. ECM Brigade
    • ... squadron
    • ... squadron
  • 53. Helicopter Brigade
    • 7th squadron
    • 18th squadron

Marsa Matrouh Air Base[edit]

  • 102 Tactical Fighter Brigade
    • 26th squadron
    • 82nd squadron

Wadi al Jandali Air Base[edit]

  • Flying Training Air Squadron
    • ... FTS squadron


The following individuals have had command of the Egyptian Air Force:[71]

Squadron Leader Victor Hubert Tait, first commander of the Egyptian Air Force when it was created

Royal Egyptian Air Force commanders[edit]

  • 1932 to 1936 Squadron Leader Victor Hubert Tait[72][73]
  • list incomplete
  • 6 July 1939 to 20 August 1939 Ali Islam[74]
  • 20 August 1939 to 21 October 1940 Hassan Mohammed Abdel Wahab[75]
  • 21 October 1940 to 4 October 1942 Ali Muwafi[76]
  • 4 October 1942 to 4 November 1944 Hassan Hosni Taher[77]
  • 8 November 1944 to 11 March 1947 Mohammed Metwaly[78]
  • 11 March 1947 to 23 July 1952 Mohammed Mustafa Sha'arawy[79]

Egyptian Air Force Chiefs of Staff[edit]

Egyptian Air Force and Defense commanders[edit]

Egyptian Air Force commanders[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b International Institute for Strategic Studies (3 Feb 2014). The Military Balance 2014. London: Routledge. pp. 315–318. ISBN 9781857437225. 
  2. ^ "waf2016.pdf". WORLD AIR FORCES 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  3. ^ Nicolle, David; Sherif Sharmy (24 September 2003). "Battle of el-Mansourah". Middle East Database. Air Combat Information Group. Retrieved 5 January 2009. 
  4. ^ "Chief of Air Staff". Egyptian Ministry of Defense (in Arabic). Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  5. ^ "Egypt - Al Quwwat al Jawwiya Ilmisriya - Egyptian Air Force - EAF". Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Crawford, Alex. "Stirlings in Egypt". Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Guy Laron (February 2007). "Cutting the Gordian Knot: The Post-WWII Egyptian Quest for Arms and the 1955 Czechoslovak Arms Deal". p. 16. Egyptian representatives were able to sign a new commercial agreement with Czechoslovakia on 24 October 1951, which included a secret clause stating that "the government of Czechoslovakia will provide the Egyptian government with arms and ammunition - to be selected by Egyptian experts - worth about 600 million Egyptian pounds, to be paid in Egyptian cotton." The Egyptian experts requested 200 tanks, 200 armored vehicles, 60 to 100 MIG-15 planes, 2,000 trucks, 1,000 jeeps, and other items... Czechoslovakia would not be able to supply weapons to Egypt in 1952. And each year, from then until 1955, Prague kept finding new reasons to delay the shipments  
  8. ^ Kenneth M. Pollack, Mark Grimsley, Peter Maslowski, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948–1991,University of Nebraska Press, 2004 p.170
  9. ^ "Dassault Mirage IIICJ (Shahak) - Jewish Virtual Library". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Mig-21". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Egypt Daily News". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Dr. David Nicolle and Sherif Sharmy (24 September 2003). "Battle of el-Mansourah". Retrieved 7 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "Libya & Egypt, 1971-1979". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Egypt Warplanes Bombing Islamist Militias In Libya: Officials". The Huffington Post. 15 October 2014. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  15. ^ "Egyptian air strikes in Libya kill dozens of Isis militants". The Guardian. 16 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015. 
  16. ^ Arab, The New. "Egyptian air force joins operation to retake Yemen base". alaraby. Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  17. ^ Boeing: Boeing, U.S. Army Sign Contract for 35 Egyptian AH-64D Apaches
  18. ^ a b Scramble on the Web – Egyptian Air Force
  19. ^ Egyptian Military Purchase.
  20. ^ "U.S. pushes F-16 project for Egypt despite Muslim Brotherhood purge of military". 15 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Obama halts delivery of four F-16 jets to Egypt amid unrest -, 24 July 2013
  22. ^ "White House resumes delivery of 12 F-16 fighter aircraft to Egypt". 1 April 2015. 
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  24. ^ "Exportation du Rafale : les inquiétudes de l'armée de l'air". La Tribune (in French). 9 June 2015. 
  25. ^ Lert, Frédéric (16 February 2015). "Egypt officially signs for 24 Rafales, FREMM frigate, and missiles". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  26. ^ "Egypt, France to conclude €5.2 billion deal for Rafale jets". France 24. 16 February 2015. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  27. ^ Hoyle, Craig (13 February 2015). "Egypt picks Rafale for fighter deal". Flightglobal. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  28. ^ "Dassault Aviation delivers first Rafales to the Arab Republic of Egypt". Dassault Aviation. 20 July 2015. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  29. ^ "Egypt Receives Three More Rafale Fighters From France". 
  30. ^ Hoyle, Craig (20 July 2015). "Rafale exports take off with Egyptian delivery". Flightglobal. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2015. 
  31. ^ News Desk. "Egypt interested in buying 24 MiG-35s from Russia". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  32. ^ "Russia said set to sell its top fighter jets to Egypt". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  33. ^ Russia Ready to Supply MiG-35 Jets to Egypt - Manufacturer
  34. ^ "Russian-Egyptian contract for 46 fighters MiG-35". (in Russian). 22 August 2015. 
  35. ^ "Egypt to Buy 46 Mig-35 Fighter Jets from Russia". 
  36. ^ "Russia's Landmark $2Bln Deal With Egypt for MiG Fighter Jets". 
  37. ^ "Системы наведения на цель ракет с МиГ-35 поставят в Египет в 2016 году". (in Russian). 
  38. ^ "Egypt bought 50 Ka-52 Russian helicopters." (in RUSS). 23 September 2015. 
  39. ^ "Russia to supply 50 Ka-52 helicopters to Egypt in 2016-2018" (in Russian). 10 November 2015. 
  40. ^ "Ka-52 orders from Egypt." (in RUSS). 25 August 2015. 
  41. ^ "Sagem and AOI - Aircraft Factory sign collaboration agreement on drones for Egyptian defense market". 24 September 2015. 
  42. ^ "ОАК ожидает первые экспортные контракты на Ил-76МД-90А через 4-6 месяцев после МАКС-2015.". (in RUSS). 26 August 2015. 
  43. ^ "Airbus recibe de Egipto el primer pedido de un A400M tras el accidente." (in Spanish). 5 October 2015. 
  44. ^ "Egipto comprará hasta doce A400M a Airbus por 1.800 millones" (in Spanish). 23 November 2015. 
  45. ^ "Egypt may buy some 30 Ka-52K helicopters from Russia for over $1 billion". 24 September 2015. 
  46. ^ "Новинками нашего авиапрома интересуются клиенты "Рособоронэкспорта" и Египет" (in RUSS). 26 August 2015. 
  47. ^ "Egypt, France In Discussions Over NH90 Helicopter Buy". 5 October 2015. 
  48. ^ "L'Egypte proche de s'offrir deux satellites "made in France"". 17 December 2015. 
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "World Air Forces 2015" (PDF). Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 27 November 2015. 
  50. ^ "Украина обеспечит модернизацию многоцелевых Ан-74 ВВС Египта". (in Russian). 
  51. ^ "Arabian Aerospace - AgustaWestland delivers AW139 to Egyptian Air Force". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  52. ^ Boeing: Boeing, U.S. Army Sign Contract for 35 Egyptian AH-64D Apaches
  53. ^ "Airbus receives from Egypt its first order of A400M". 5 October 2015. 
  54. ^ "Egypt Receives Three More Rafale Fighters From France". 
  55. ^ "Al Quwwat al Jawwiya Il misriya". 
  56. ^ "Egypt to get another E-2C Hawkeye". 19 October 2015. 
  57. ^ "Мы обезопасились от катастрофических последствий". (in Russian). 
  58. ^ "Корпорация "МиГ" поставит два истребителя МиГ-29М/М2 в Северную Африку" (in Russian). 
  59. ^ "Russian Helicopters confirms agreement with Egypt for 46 Kamov Ka-52 aircraft" (in Russian). 30 December 2015. 
  60. ^ "Russia, Egypt to Hold Talks on Delivering Helicopters for Mistral". 2 February 2016. 
  61. ^ "Two plus two is equal to $ 3 billion". 14 February 2014. 
  62. ^ "Egipto comprará hasta doce A400M a Airbus por 1.800 millones" (in Spanish). 23 November 2015. 
  63. ^ "ОАК ожидает первые экспортные контракты на Ил-76МД-90А через 4-6 месяцев после МАКС-2015.". (in RUSS). 26 August 2015. 
  64. ^ "Egypt, France In Discussions Over NH90 Helicopter Buy". 5 October 2015. 
  65. ^ "China Again Tries To Pierce Gulf Defense Market". 6 November 2015. 
  66. ^ "中国彩虹4B无人机在中东显威 专家却这样说". (in Chinese). 
  67. ^ Joseph E. Lin (March 20, 2015). "China’s Weapons of Mass Consumption". Foreign Policy. 
  68. ^ "Sagem and AOI - Aircraft Factory sign collaboration agreement on drones for Egyptian defense market". 24 September 2015. 
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^ Commanders
  72. ^ Air Force
  73. ^ "V H Tait". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  74. ^ Air Force
  75. ^ Air Force
  76. ^ Air Force
  77. ^ Air Force
  78. ^
  79. ^
  80. ^
  81. ^ a b Air Force
  82. ^ [1]
  83. ^ The Air Force
  84. ^ The Air Force
  85. ^ Air Force
  86. ^ Air Force
  87. ^ Air Force
  88. ^ Air Force
  89. ^ Air Force
  90. ^ Air Force
  91. ^
  92. ^ Air Vice Marshal

External links[edit]