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EDEX debut proves to be the perfect model

Posted 18 February 2019 · Add Comment

For three days, from December 3-5, the Egyptian International Exhibition Centre in Cairo hosted the country’s first ever defence exhibition – EDEX 2018. Alan Warnes was there.

If there were ever doubts about whether this first exhibition would be a success, they were quickly dispelled.
There were around 350 companies showing off their wares, from all over the globe.
The three large halls covered air, sea and land topics, with much of Hall 3 dedicated to the Egyptian MoD.
There were trucks, ships and the odd aircraft model everywhere.
Outside Hall 1, Russia’s Rosoboronexport had positioned a Kamov Ka-52 in Egyptian Armed Forces camouflage – it was the only real aircraft present. The rest were models.
The first morning saw the visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, a former Army officer. His presence led to heightened security, which meant visitors were locked out until 1pm.
Egypt suffers from internal security issues, mainly in the Sinai Desert, and President El-Sisi is keen to modernise its military in a bid to defeat the Islamic militias.
On the air front, Rafale International displayed a large model of a single-seat Rafale DM.
The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) has ordered 12 Rafale DMs and eight dual-seat EMs, but another deal for an additional 12, announced in November 2017, has not yet been signed. The reason is said to be because the US Government is not allowing the delivery of a component for the Scalp stand-off weapon.
According to one source, a first batch of Scalps was delivered before the US intervened and the Egyptians are linking the 12-jet order with the Scalp.
MBDA designs and builds the weapon, known as Storm Shadow in the UK (mounted on Tornados until replaced by the Typhoon at end of March) and Black Shaheen in the UAE (launched from Mirage 2000-9s). However, a visit to the MBDA stand found no-one prepared to talk about the Egyptian contract.
Lockheed Martin was displaying a model of a C-130J in EAF markings. The US giant has been pursuing the Egyptian market for several years, and, according to one source, “is closer to sealing a deal than ever before”.
In April 2016, it was reported Egypt had ordered two C-130Js to be delivered in 2019, but Lockheed Martin deny a deal has been done.
Next to the Hercules was an F-16 Block 52, which was being displayed with an AIM-120 advanced medium-range air-to-air missile (AMRAAM) and GBU-31 joint direct attack munition (JDAM). However, the US Government has not allowed the export of these weapons to Egypt, so none of the EAF F-16s operate them.
Their appearance might have some connection with an upgrade Lockheed Martin is offering for the EAF’s 30 or so Block 15s. The EAF’s fleet of nearly 200 F-16s are only equipped with AIM-7 Sparrows and AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, which means their air defence capabilities are substantially clipped.
A similar situation covers the air-to-ground role, where it is believed only Mk 81 and Mk 82 laser-guided bombs are used. So it is not surprising that Egypt wants the more capable Rafale, which is not involved in international traffic in arms regulations (ITAR).
Rosoboronexport was displaying a MiG-29M2 model at its stand. Egypt is in the middle of receiving 46 jets, which a source said was made up of a mix of 15 dual-seater MiG-29M2s and 31 single-seaters MiG-29Ms.
One of the single-seaters was lost in October, but the pilot escaped by managing to eject while inverted.
Meanwhile, another source said the EAF is still interested in the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex/Chengdu JF-17 Thunder.
An EAF delegation was briefed at China’s Zhuhai Airshow in early November on the progress of the Block 3 versions, which the Pakistan Air Force will be operating in 2021. They are being offered with an airborne electronically scanned array (AESA) radar made in China.
The Block 3s will also be armed with SD-10A beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs), C-802A anti-shipping missiles and stand-off weapons – all capabilities needed by the EAF.
The Arab Organization for Industrialisation (AOI) was displaying a large model of a K-8E Karakoram.
The Helwan-based aircraft factory assembled 120 K-8Es between 2000 and 2010, and is now overhauling them.
Located next to the aircraft factory display was the Helwan for Development Industries (HFDI), which overhauls the EAF Mi-8s, Mi-17s and SA342L Gazelles.
General director, Engineer Megahed Abdel, said: “We are licensed by Russian Helicopters to overhaul the Mi-8/17, and by Airbus Helicopters to overhaul the SA342L Gazelle for the Egyptian Armed Forces. We would like to gain an export license to overhaul these helicopters flown by Middle East and African operators.”

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