Russia brought a sizable display of its military products to the Egypt Defense Expo (EDEX) 2018, underscoring Moscow’s efforts to boost sales and influence in Egypt and, more broadly, the Middle East.
Rosoboronexport’s delegation to the EDEX military exhibition, which ran from December 3rd to the 5th, included the products of 11 Russian defense manufacturers. TASS noted that the Russian display included attack helicopters (Ka-52, Mi-35, Mi-28NE), utility and transport helicopters (Mi-17, Mi-26, and Ansat), fighter jets (Su-35, MiG-29M/M2), jet trainers (Yak-130), surface-to-air missile systems (S-400, Tor-M2E, Buk-M2E, Pantsir-S1, Igla-S, Verba), tanks (T-90MS), infantry fighting vehicles (BMP-3, BMPT), armored personnel carriers (BTR-82A), and anti-tank systems (Khrizantema-S self-propelled system, Kornet-E ATGM).
The Russian defense industry has marketed these systems to numerous clients through the Middle East and North Africa in recent years, landing sales in Egypt, Algeria, and Iraq. Several Gulf Cooperation Council countries have indicated interest in procuring new equipment from Russia.
Speaking to TASS, Egypt’s Minister of Military Production, Mohamed al-Asar, said, “Russia’s participation is in full accordance with the high level of our relations that have a strategic nature, are known to be privileged in the area of politics and in the relations between both countries’ governments. I am personally convinced that Russia’s presence at this exhibition fully reflects that.”
He continued, “Our relations develop on a daily basis in all spheres, and I think we shouldn’t be talking now about any concrete achievements, about what happened and what will happen. However, I would like to repeat myself: we are constantly developing relations in the area of military production and military-technical cooperation.”
The minister did not offer specifics, but Russia and Egypt are in negotiations for a range of Russian products, alongside Cairo’s recent acquisition of Russian-made MiG-29s, Ka-52s, and other equipment. Moving forward, the two may sign a deal on equipping Egypt’s Mistral helicopter carriers with Russian equipment. The Egyptian military is furthermore interested in procuring Ka-52Ks — the maritime version of the Ka-52 now entering service — for the Mistrals.
The Russian sales push comes as the U.S. has rolled out sanctions targeting the Russian defense industry. Despite the onset of the sanctions, Russia has continued to discuss potential sales with a number of interested customers.