by Paolo Valpolini
A historical customer by definition, Egypt is definitely considered a potential market in the near future by MBDA, the European Missile Company.
MBDA established with Cairo a long term strategy, that led to provide complete weapon packages for various platforms, since the first Mirage to the latest Dassault Rafale; the company declines from commenting on the SCALP issue, the missile export to Egypt having been stopped by the US due to the presence of ITAR-controlled subsystems into the missile, however the feeling is that soon or late the situation should find a solution. As for naval missiles, MBDA products are on board the ship being currently delivered to Egypt by Naval Group, namely FREMM frigates and Gowind corvettes. These naval platforms are armed with Exocet Block 3 antiship missiles, frigates being fitted with the Aster-based air defence solution, while smaller corvettes are fitted with the VL-MICA.
Remaining in the naval field, MBDA is proposing the naval version of its MMP 5th generation missile, born for land purposes as multipurpose missile; the announcement of the naval use of the MMP was given at Euronaval one month ago, when MBDA revealed that the French armed forces carried out, at the end of last summer, an operational evaluation campaign in Djibouti, the MMP having being fired at both ground and naval targets from an Ecume rigid hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) moving at high speed.
Following a recent demonstration held at Canjuers, in southern France, in front of a number of foreign delegations, MBDA received numerous signals of interest from various Middle East and Asian countries for its multipurpose missile.
Beside this, MBDA is also proposing to Egypt and in the region its whole range of Air Defence systems, as well as its coastal battery solutions, which attracted the interest of numerous coutries in the area.