Egypt has agreed to buy 46 of Russia's MiG-29 fighter jets in a deal that may be worth up to $2 billion, the largest order for MiG aircraft since the fall of the Soviet Union, newspaper Vedomosti reported Monday, citing two unidentified aviation industry sources.
Cairo has historically purchased U.S.-made military hardware, but Washington suspended future sales after the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. Since then, Egypt has turned to a number of other suppliers, including Russia, for its military needs. Last year Egypt bought Russia's advanced S-300 anti-aircraft system for a sum not less than $500 million, one of Vedomosti's sources said.
According to one of Vedomosti's two sources in the aviation industry, the deal for the 46 MiG-29 fighter jets will cost up to $2 billion.
The MiG-29 was first fielded in the 1970s to counter U.S. fighter jets such as the F-15 and F-16, and has been continuously upgraded by Russia's MiG aircraft company over the years.
The deal will be a boon to MiG, securing a production portfolio that would keep MiG-29s rolling off the assembly line until around 2020, Konstantin Makienko, deputy director of the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Vedomosti.