It has been recently published that Egypt has signed a large arms acquisition contract with Russia, in order to revamp its military and air-force. Details have not been released. This informative article [Link], it is claimed that:
I) The deal is funded mainly by Saudi-Arabia and the UAE.
II) Egypt eyes Mig-29 and Helicopters.
For the Sinai arena, fighting Al-Qaeda, to which it has lost several helicopters already, Egypt could actually benefit from:
1. BMPT “Ramka” [Link], which is a newly introduced weapon platform for asymmetric warfare. It is based on hard-earned bloody lessons from Afghanistan in the 1980s and Chechnya in the 1990s and 2000s. The “Ramka” marries automatic-guns with a T-72 tube/chassis, thus mitigates for the dense presence, aka ‘Arenas’, or in physical terms high spatial-frequency, of critical soft threats e.g. infantry, IED, anti-tank positions and bunkers.
Machine guns do not provide a decisive edge over such threats, while tank guns/howitzers lack the firing frequency required in such entangled engagements. Thus the “Ramka” is the right tool for the Job in the mountains of the Sinai.
2. Sukhoi-25TM, aka Su-39, which is a rugged CAS [Link] aircraft, which is comparable to the American A-10, rather not fighter-jets or any helicopters – since helicopters are essentially much more susceptible to AAA than fixed-wing aircraft.
That’s due to:
2.1 Fragility of the rotor complex.
2.2 Far lower speed and acceleration.
2.3 Far lighter payload and armour.
One Brigade of “Ramka” including ILS [Link] would cost a Billion USD, likewise a couple squadrons of Su-39 would cost at least that much.
In historic perspective of the Russian-Afghan war
Sinai shares with Afghanistan the Topography, the Climate, the characters of the native population, the Opium growing industry and the interest both the USA and Russia have in controlling it.
Sinai may thus become a proving ground for improvements implemented in Russian weapons, resulting from the lessons it learned in Afghanistan in the 1980s, while the fought against the US orchestrated and backed Mujahideen [Link]. The Russian-Afghan war was initiated by the US in order to “Trap the Russian Bear” and demolish the USSR [According to this 1998 interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the CIA’s intervention in Afghanistan preceded the 1979 Soviet invasion]. The USSR indeed bled heavily for a decade in Afghanistan until it retreated entirely.
The reign of General A-Sisi, who is about to become President of Egypt this year, is challenged on the ground by the US and Al-Qaeda – quite like the USSR was challenged in Afghanistan. This infiltration has already brought large Egyptian forces in to the Sinai, yet insofar to no avail.
If this weapons deal gives A-Sisi a decisive advantage over the Sinai Al-Qaeda, then the southern edge of the Russian sphere-of-influence shall greatly expand from Syria in to Africa, like it was in the Soviet days, curbing Erdoghan’s Neo-Ottoman intention to expand Turkey’s influence across the natural-gas fields of the Mediterranean. We have reported this Russian momentum already a year ago in our article: Khaputin’s Russoman empire reigns supreme [Link].