Country Listing

Egypt Table of Contents


Air Defense Force

After most of the country's aircraft was destroyed on the ground in 1967, the military placed responsibility for air defense under one commander. Responsibility had previously been divided among several commands. Egypt patterned its new Air Defense Force (ADF) after the Soviet Air Defense Command, which integrated all its air defense capabilities--antiaircraft guns, rocket and missile units, interceptor planes, and radar and warning installations.

In 1989 the ADF had an estimated 80,000 ground and air personnel, including 50,000 conscripts. Its main constituents were 100 antiaircraft-gun battalions, 65 battalions of SA-2 SAMs, 60 battalions of SA-3 SAMs, 12 batteries of improved Hawk SAMs (I-Hawk), and 1 battery of Crotale missiles. Each battalion had between 200 and 500 men, and from four to eight battalions composed a brigade. Gun and missile sites were located along the Suez Canal, around Cairo, and near some other cities to protect military installations and strategic civilian targets. The ADF deployed some of its more mobile weapons in the Western Desert as a defense against possible Libyan incursions.

Progress was being made on a national air-defense network that would integrate all existing radars, missile batteries, air bases, and command centers into an automated command and control system. The ADF planned to link the system to the Hawkeye early warning aircraft.

A large share of the ADF's antiaircraft artillery, SAMs, and radar equipment was imported from the Soviet Union. As of 1989, the most modern weapons in the air defense system were the 108 mediumaltitude I-Hawk SAMs acquired from the United States beginning in 1982. These weapons were supplemented by 400 older Soviet-made SA-2 SAMs with a slant range of forty to fifty kilometers and about 240 SA-3s, which provided shorter-range defense against low-flying targets. A British firm helped the ADF modernize the SA-2s. In addition, Egypt was producing its own SAM, the Tayir as Sabah (Morning Flight), based on the design of the SA-2. The ADF had mounted sixty Soviet SA-6 SAMs on tracked vehicles as tactical launchers. Sixteen tracked vehicles provided mobile launching platforms for its fifty French-manufactured Crotale SAM launchers. Egypt was also introducing its own composite gun-missile-radar system known as Amun (skyguard), integrating radar-guided twin 23mm guns with Sparrow and Egyptian Ayn as Saqr SAMs (see table 16, Appendix).

Data as of December 1990