Cairo, Dec 31 (Aswat Masriya) – The CEO of Russian Helicopters, a Moscow-based company military manufacturer, announced Wednesday that Russia will supply Egypt with 46 helicopters.
"In this knotty situation, we've managed to keep up the financial parameters reached previously and to broaden the presence of Russian helicopter technologies in the world market," state-affiliated news Russian news agency TASS quoted Alexander Mikheev as saying. "For instance, a large agreement for delivery of forty-six Ka-52 Alligator helicopters has been signed with Egypt through [the state weaponry trading company] Rosoboronexport."
The Ka-52 Alligator helicopters are combat helicopters, equipped with “powerful offensive weapons” and “designed to destroy tanks, armoured and non-armoured ground targets,” according to the company’s website.
The helicopter is a twin-seat, more advanced version of the Russian attack helicopter Ka-50 “Black Shark.”
Russia and Egypt held their first ever joint military exercise last June in Moscow, further strengthening ties between the two countries. Russia and Egypt were allies for much of the cold war period, during which Egypt was a traditional export market for Russian arms.
Since it signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1970, Egypt has also been receiving some LE9.1 billion ($1.3 billion) in annual US military aid. After former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi's ouster in 2013, the United States held the delivery of Apache helicopters but decided to lift its ban in April.
The longstanding US-Egyptians relations witnessed a state of flux after Mursi's ouster. In October 2013, the US State Department announced it would "hold the delivery of certain large-scale military systems [to Egypt] ... pending credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections."
But in March 2015, Obama completely ended the halt on supplying the Egyptian army with military equipment.
Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have repeatedly pledged the intention to strengthen bilateral relations. The two presidents have also made agreements earlier in 2015 to cooperate on nuclear and military matters.
Russian President Valdimir Putin visited Cairo in February, when he invited Sisi to an official visit to Russia.
Sisi has already visited Russia twice in 2014, once as defence minister in February and another time in August as president.
On Oct 31, an A321 Metrojet crashed in the Sinai desert as it headed to St. Petersburg. The explosion was proclaimed an act of terrorism, in which a homemade bomb was planted on the jet.
After the incident, Russia halted all flights to Egypt indefinitely and banned the national carrier EgyptAir from flying to Moscow.
Egypt has been facing militant insurgency in the Northern Sinai area, as several attacks by Islamic-State affiliated State of Sinai and Ansar Beit al-Maqdes have targeted military and security personnel.