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Egyptian Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya)

The Air Force's primary role is the air defense of the nation, with secondary tasks of strike and army support operations. The Air Force provides official government transport and carries out international search-and- rescue operations in the desert, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Red Sea. Since 1992, the Air Force has also provided aviation support for the police and other national security organizations engaged in the war against terrorism.

The total active manpower of the Egyptian Air Force is approximately 30,000 personnel, including 10,000 conscripts, with reserves of 20,000 personnel.

The Egyptian Air Force (Al Quwwat al Jawwiya il Misriya), headquartered at Cairo, is responsible for all airborne defense missions and operates all military aircraft, including those used in support of the Egyptian Army and Navy. The Air Defense Command, created as a separate command in the 1970s, coordinates with the Air Force to integrate air and ground-based air defense operations.

The Egyptian Air Force was comprised of 28 fighter/ground attack squadrons.

  • 7 F-16 fighter squadrons
  • 8 MiG-21/F-7 fighter squadrons
  • 2 F-6 squadrons
  • 4 Mirage 5 squadrons
  • 4 F-4E squadrons
  • 1 Mirage 2000 squadron
  • 2 Alpha Jet squadron
  • 3 transport squadrons
  • 2 reconnaissance squadrons
  • 1 airborne early warning squadron
  • 1 electronic warfare squadron

Squadrons contain an average of 12 to 18 aircraft. Cairo maintains fighter-interceptors to patrol the country's long borders, particularly with Sudan and Libya.

Egypt has the largest air force in the Arab world, with over 550 airplanes, more than half of which are of Western origin. Unlike the U.S. military where all services fly aircraft, in Egypt, only the EAF flies aircraft. Not only does the EAF operate U.S. aircraft, but also French, Czechoslovak, Russian, Chinese, and Egyptian aircraft. Some items of U.S. equipment, SH-3 and CH-47, were manufactured underlicense in England and Italy. The U.S. supports only a portion of the total EAF inventory. Managing the logistics support for any one service is a difficult task, combining three U.S. Services as well as seven other countries under both Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Commercial Contracts.

As of 1989, the Egyptian air force had more than 500 combat aircraft and 30,000 personnel, of which 10,000 were conscripts. Its front-rank fighters consisted of sixty-seven multimission F-16 A/Cs and thirty-three F-4Es from the United States, as well as sixteen Mirage 2000s from France. A large inventory of older MiG aircraft (some of which were Chinese versions assembled in Egypt) backed up the more modern fighters. The air force had fitted many of the MiGs with advanced Western electronics, including radars, jamming equipment, and Sidewinder and Matra air-to-air missiles.

The Air Defense Force exercised operational control of about 135 MiG interceptors, although their aircraft and personnel remained part of the air force. Egypt also planned to exchange crude oil for fifty Pucara light ground-attack fighters from Argentina. The air force operated seventy-two combat helicopters and a number of electronic-monitoring, maritime-patrol, reconnaissance, and earlywarning aircraft. Some of these aircraft were capable of detecting low-flying targets at great distances.

Soviet doctrine has been swept away as the Egyptian Air Forces re-equip with Western aircraft. US Air Force doctrine and tactics, including the coordination between the E-2C and the F-16 aircraft, have been adopted. US squadrons conduct yearly exercises with the Egyptian forces.

The principal Egyptian Air Force bases are at Almaza, Hurghada, Cairo West, In Shas, Bilbeis, Fayid, Beni Suwayf, Gianaclis, Luxor, Tanta, al-Mina, Al Mansura, Ras Banas, and Gabel el Basur.

The Egyptian Air Force, like the Army and Navy, is nearing the end of a major restructuring program designed to eliminate redundant, Sovietsupplied equipment and replace it with new Western equipment or upgraded Russian systems.




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