Egypt's interest in acquiring the RAC MiG-35 has developed into negotiations with Russia to purchase 46 fighters in a deal which could be worth up to $2.2 billion.
According to Russian media reports, RAC MiG chief executive Sergei Korotkov says the company is ready to supply MiG-35s to Cairo. The model is the Russian air force's latest-generation fighter, and is a successor to earlier versions of the MiG-29 series.
The Egyptian air force currently operates a mixed fleet of Chengdu F-7s, Dassault Mirage 2000s and recently-transferred Rafale trainers, Lockheed Martin F-16s, and MiG-21s. Deliveries from the USA had been halted during a period of political instability, but were recently resumed.
According to Tal Inbar, a senior researcher at the Fisher Institute for Air & Space in Israel, the proposed deal with Russia is "a sign to Washington that Egypt has more than one source for advanced weapon systems".
Egypt is strengthening its military capabilities mainly to fight extremist groups like Islamic State, which is highly active in the Sinai peninsula and has killed a large number of Egyptian soldiers and policemen in recent months.