Air Marshal Mohamed Abbas Helmy, Commander-in-Chief, Egyptian Air Force (EAF) will be visiting India in the next couple of weeks to discuss defense collaboration between both countries with specific agenda to seek help in maintaining the Russian military arsenal in its fleet. The Russian supply chain has been crippled by sanctions and other factors since Feb. 24 has affected the Egyptian air force operated 50 MiG-29M/M2 Fulcrums and 60+ Mil Mi-17 helicopter fleet is facing supply chain issues that are affecting their service availability.

EAF till now has resisted western pressure to transfer Egyptian Fulcrums to Ukraine but to the predominantly Western-supplied air force fleet it will not be long before disrupted Russian supply chain and maintenance issues caused by the Ukraine war will start affecting its current fleet of Russian jets.

Indian state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) manufactures the Klimov RD-33 Series-3 Engine for the MiG-29UPG fleet of the Indian Air Force and also manufactures most of its spares at home. HAL’s Koraput site in Orissa state already has the technology to manufacture RD-33 engines as part of the license production deal signed between India and Russia in 2006. HAL also has upgraded 60 IAF’s Mig-29A into Mig-29UPG upgrade packages locally in India with Russian-supplied kits and also supplies engines for 40 Mig-29K operated by the Indian Navy.

EAF Chief will be visiting HAL facility and likely will also be taking flight onboard Tejas Trainer aircraft that HAL has offered as LIFT (Lead-In Fighter Trainer ) to meet its requirement for 70 advanced jet trainer aircraft with avionics and stores-management capability that can mimic other jets to provide a cost-effective training system for training of the aircrew for front-line service.

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