Russia’s state-run arms exporter is ready to supply Kamov Ka-52K helicopters to Egypt. Rostec Corporation CEO Sergey Chemezov announced at the 2015 Dubai Air Show that the helicopters and avionics could be placed on board the French-build Mistral-class ships. However, Rostec has not received a request for helicopters from Egypt yet. These negotiations cannot take place until Russian equipment on Mistral ships is dismantled.
Russia dismantling its equipment on Mistral ships
In 2011, Russia awarded France a contract to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers. The first one was supposed to be delivered in 2014. However, Paris canceled delivery of the ships at the last moment after Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia due to its annexation of Crimea. Since then, France had been looking for a buyer for the Mistral ships. On October 10, Egypt signed a contract to buy two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships from France.
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The Russian equipment on the ships is being dismantled by French and Russian experts in France, and is set to be completed by the end of this year. As soon as the work is over, Egypt can make an official request to buy Russian avionics and helicopters. The equipment being dismantled includes artillery control systems, missile weapons, and combat information management systems.
Egypt to get both Mistral ships next year
Both the ships are expected to be delivered to Cairo by mid-2016. Earlier this year, Sergei Ivanov, the Russian president’s chief of staff, had said that Moscow was planning to sell helicopters and equipment for the Mistral-class ships to Egypt in a deal that might exceed $1 billion. Rostec also revealed that it had supplied $115 billion worth of arms to more than 100 countries in the last 15 years. Its current order book is worth $45 billion.
Russia had planned to use Kamov Ka-52K helicopters on the Mistral ships before France canceled the contract. Sources familiar with the matter told TASS news agency that Cairo intends to purchase the same helicopters for the ships it is buying from France, and is in the process of deciding how many to order. The Russian Navy had planned to buy 32 helicopters for the Mistral ships.