Israeli intelligence experts have expressed doubts about the viability of ongoing negotiations for a possible sale of Russian RAC MiG-35 fighters to Egypt.
Speaking in late September, RAC MiG general director Sergei Korotkov said he was planning to travel to Egypt in October for talks on a proposed deal. Egyptian military personnel visited the MiG-35 production site recently, and the nation has previously been reported as interested in acquiring 24 of the type.
The Russian corporation has expressed hopes that the negotiations will result in a deal, but added that the situation will be clearer after the planned talks in Cairo.
At the beginning of the year, Egypt's then-defence minister Abdul Fattah al-Sisi confirmed reports that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would provide funding to the country to assist it with purchasing Russian weapons.
However, Yiftah Shapir, senior research fellow and head of the Middle East military balance project at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, believes it is very unlikely that Egypt will turn away from an air force that mostly operates US-made combat aircraft, including more than 200 Lockheed Martin F-16s.
"This is only one factor. The second one is the financial situation of Egypt, [which] is receiving $1.3 billion in Foreign Military Funds from the USA," he adds.