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Military of Egypt

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Military of Egypt

Egyptian Armed Forces
القوات المسلحة المصرية
Egyptian soldiers carrying flags of the main branches of the armed forces
Founded 1922
Current form 1952
Service branches

Egyptian Army
Egyptian Navy
Egyptian Air Force

Egyptian Air Defense Forces
Headquarters Koubri el-Quba, Cairo
Supreme Commander President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Commander-in-chief and Minister of Defence Col. Gen. Sedki Sobhi
Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Mahmoud Hegazy
Military age 18-49 years old
Conscription 1-3 years depending on circumstances
Available for
military service
41,157,220, age 18–49 (2011[1])
Fit for
military service
35,305,381, age 18–49 (2011[2])
Reaching military
age annually
1,532,052 (2011[3])
Active personnel 778,000 (ranked 10th)
Reserve personnel 800,000
Budget 56,1 billion (~$ 7.85 billion)[4]
Percent of GDP ~1,72% (2012)[5]
Domestic suppliers AOI
Foreign suppliers United States
North Korea
South Korea
United Kingdom
South Africa
Czech Republic
Soviet Union
Related articles

World War II
1948 Arab-Israeli War
Egyptian Revolution of 1952
Tripartite Aggression
North Yemen Civil War
Six Day War
Nigerian Civil War
War of Attrition
October War
Shaba I
Libyan–Egyptian War
Gulf War
Egyptian Crisis
2014 Libyan conflict


Army officers
Air force officers

Navy officers

The Egyptian Armed Forces (Arabic: القوات المسلحة المصرية‎) (Arabic pronunciation: ) are the military forces of Egypt. The Egyptian Armed Forces are the largest in Africa, and the Middle East. It was established in 1922, consisting of the Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force and Egyptian Air Defense Forces.

According to the Egyptian Constitution, The Egyptian Armed Forces is led by the General command or by the Supreme Council formed in times of emergency and headed by the President who holds the title of the Supreme leader of the Egyptian armed forces, and consists of the 21 military officers who represent the different armies and departments of the armed forces.

The power of the Egyptian Armed Forces since the Arab Spring has caused it to be called a "state within a state".[6][7]


The Headquarters of the Egyptian Armed Forces are in Koubri el-Quba, Cairo. The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the senior uniformed officer, is currently Colonel General Sedki Sobhi and the Chief of Staff is currently Lieutenant General Mahmoud Hegazy. The Ministry of Defense is responsible for managing the affairs of the Egyptian Armed Forces and maintaining its facilities.

The Armed Forces' inventory includes equipment from different countries around the world. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern US, French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt, such as the M1 Abrams tank. Egypt remains a strong military and strategic partner and is a participant in NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue forum. The Egyptian military is one of the strongest in the region,[8] and gives Egypt regional military supremacy rivaled only by Israel,[9] besides being one of the strongest in Africa.[10] Egypt is one of the few countries in the Middle East, and the only Arab state, with a reconnaissance satellite and has launched another one in 2007.[11] and other in 2014.

In January 2011, a delegation led by the chief of staff of Egypt's armed forces, Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, was in Washington, D.C., although the visit was truncated due to the protests. The sessions, an annual country-to-country military coordination, were being led for the U.S. by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow. A meeting with Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other talks had been planned to extend to 2 February. However, in light of events in Egypt, the delegation left Washington to return home.[12] Before their Friday night departure, Vershbow urged the two dozen Egyptian military representatives "to exercise 'restraint'".[13]

Senior members of the military can convene the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, so during the course of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, when Mubarak resigned and transferred power to this body on 11 February 2011.[14]

On Sunday 12 August 2012, new president Mohamed Morsi announced a series of military appointments. Hussein Tantawi, the minister of defence and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, were both retired.[15] Morsi also retired Sami Anan, the Army’s Chief of Staff. Morsi awarded both men state medals and appointed them as advisors to the president. Thirdly, the president appointed the head of the military intelligence, Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, as Minister of Defence to replace Tantawi. Sedki Sobhi, the commander of the Third Army, was appointed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. Morsi also retired the Commander of the Navy, Mohab Memish, and appointed him as head of the Suez Canal Authority.

On 3 July 2013 in response to millions of Egyptians demands demonstrating in streets all over Egypt since 30 June 2013, the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, then-Colonel General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, announced President Mohamed Morsi removal from power, suspension of the constitution, and new presidential and House of Representatives elections. The severe crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood commenced.[16] responding to mass demonstrations took streets all over Egypt.[17][18][19][20][20][21]

The U.S. provides annual military assistance to the Egyptian Armed Forces. In 2009, the U.S. provided nominal $1.3 billion to the Egyptian military ($1.43 billion in 2015).[22][23] Much of this is in equipment such as tanks and jet fighters that are surplus to Egyptian needs and kept in storage.[24]

According to the Egyptian Constitution, Article 200, The Armed Forces belong to the People, and their duty is to protect the country, and preserve its security and the integrity of its territories.


Egyptian Army tank in Tahrir Square.

The Armed Forces enjoy considerable power, prestige and independence within the Egyptian state.[25] During almost the entire history of the Republic of Egypt, active or retired military officers have been head of the Egyptian state. The first democratically-elected president who served for one year was removed by a military coup after mass protests against him throughout Egypt. Even the constitution drafted and passed under Morsi included protections for the military from legal and parliamentary oversight,[26] and deferred to "objections from the country’s military leadership" by removing a "clear prohibition on trials of civilians before military courts" some drafters had tried to include.[27]

Starting with the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, which created the Republic of Egypt, and was organized by the Free Officers Movement, presidents of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, Hosni Mubarak were ex-military officers for almost 60 years. This was interrupted with the 2011 revolution, when president Mubarak was forced to step down by the military in response to the revolution, and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ruled until it held the presidential election resulted in Muhammad Morsi taking office. On 3 July 2013, responding to millions in the streets, the head of the Armed Forces then-General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced the removal of Morsi and installation of the interim civilian president the Chief Justice of Supreme Constitutional Court Adly Mansour. On 4 July 2013, 68-year old Mansour was sworn in as acting president. On 26 March 2014 el-Sisi resigned from the military, announcing he would stand as a candidate in the 2014 presidential election.[28] He won the 26–28 May 2014 election in a landslide.[29] Sisi sworn into office as President of Egypt on 8 June 2014.


The military has its own hospitals, factories, clubs, and gas stations staffed by its officers, soldiers, and civilians. The organization is influential in business circles, engaging in road and housing construction, consumer goods, resort management,[25] and owning extensive tracts of real estate. Much military information is not made publicly available, including budget information, the names of the general officers and the military’s size (which is considered a state secret).[25] According to journalist Joshua Hammer, "as much as 40% of the Egyptian economy" is controlled by the Egyptian military.[30] the number which is described as a "myth" by some economists and journalists and contribution considered by some as "necessary" for the Egyptian economy and the needs of the Armed Forces to maintains its strength.[31]


Egyptian Armed Forces tactical commands

Egyptian Armed Forces, described by Le Figaro as a country beneath the country, consists of several main branches, departments and authorities. Main branches are the Army, the Air Forces, the Air Defense, and the Navy.

The Egyptian Army is administratively divided into 4 tactical commands (Northern, Western, Central, Southern command), each command is under control of a Major General in addition to two armies (2nd, 3rd army) and different corps and divisions (Armor, Mechanized, Artillery, Airmobile, Airborne, Infantry, frontier, military police, intelligence, Republican guards, Special Forces). The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) are the second biggest branch under control of the armed forces. The EAF has over 1,309 combat aircraft, 321 armed helicopters and controls about 17 air base. The Egyptian Navy is the largest branch under the armed forces' control, it is the largest navy in the Middle East and Africa, and is the seventh largest in the world measured by the number of vessels. The Egyptian Air Defense Forces is the latest established branch in the Armed Forces consists of 30,000 officers & soldiers plus 40,000 conscripts.

Departments of the Egyptian Armed Forces include the Departments of Armament Affairs, Officers' Affairs, Management and Administration and the Department of Morale Affairs (DMA) which is responsible for managing the Egyptian Armed Forces' public image, boosting goodwill towards troops, writing the speeches of the Armed forces' public statements, contacting the media and organizing the Egyptian Armed Forces' conferences and symposiums. Moreover, The Medical management of the armed forces is responsible for managing the medical affairs of the armed forces as well as controlling the hospitals run by the Armed Forces which serves both civilians and military personnel estimated at 19 hospitals in Cairo, 8 in Alexandria, 3 in Matrouh, 2 in each of Ismailia and Gharbia, one in each of Port Said, Al Sharqia, Dakahlia, Beni Suef, Minya, Sohag, Qena, Aswan, Kafr el-Sheikh, and North Sinai.[32]

Authorities of the armed forces include the Engineering Authority (EAAF), it's the sector beneath the Armed Forces responsible for the Engineering work, its missions variety between War and peace time, In War time the authority is responsible for the engineering aid to the Forces, one of the Authority major operations was Operation Badr (1973). In Peace time the authority is responsible in helping build Egypt's infrastructure and the national projects including Cities, stadiums, clubs. In addition to The Financial Authority (FA) responsible for the financial matters in the armed forces and the Research Authority.

The Armed Forces also hold control of Military Judiciary and Military Intelligence Directorate.


In 2011, The Egyptian Armed forces is reported to have more than 468,500 active personnel, in addition to 800,000 personnel available in reserve and over 400,000 paramilitary personnel making it one of the largest armies in the world. The recruitment in Egypt is mandatory for all men who reached the military service age. Only the medical committee formed by the Armed forces can exempt those who they decide as unsuitable for the military service. Men who have no brothers are also exempted.

Egyptian Army

Egyptian M60 Tank.

The inventory of the Egyptian armed forces includes equipment from the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China. Equipment from the Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern U.S., French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt, such as the M1A2 Abrams tank which makes Egypt the owner of the second largest number of latest generation main battle tanks in the region and the first in the case of the older generations. Conscripts for the army and other service branches without a university degree serve three years as enlisted soldiers. Conscripts with a General Secondary School Degree serve two years as enlisted personnel. Conscripts with a university degree serve one year as enlisted personnel or three years as a reserve officer. Officers for the army are trained at the Egyptian Military Academy one of the oldest academies in the world.

Egyptian Air Force

Egyptian air force F-16 refueling

The Egyptian Air Force or EAF is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. Currently, the backbone of the EAF is the F-16. The EAF (planes and pilot training) is considered to be the strongest in Africa and one of the strongest in the Middle East. The Mirage 2000 is the other modern interceptor used by the EAF. The Egyptian Air Force has 228 F-16s (plus 12 awaiting delivery) making it the 4th largest operator of the F-16 in the World. It has about 1,100 combat aircraft[33] and 245 armed helicopters.[34] having 35 Apache's AH-64D as it also continues to fly extensively upgraded MiG-21s, F-7 Skybolts, F-4 Phantoms, Dassault Mirage Vs, and the C-130 Hercules among other planes. The Air Force is undergoing massive modernization. Mikoyan in late 2014 confirmed that Egypt signed a deal to acquire 24 Mig-29M fighter jets, and is in negotiations to acquire 24 Mig-35 fighter jets[35] and it was reported that Egypt is in negotiations with French Dassault for an initial order of 24 Rafale fighter jets[36]

Egyptian Air Defense

The Egyptian Air Defense Command or ADF (Quwwat El Diffaa El Gawwi in Arabic) is Egypt's military command responsible for air defense. One of the most powerful air defenses in the world. Egypt patterned its Air Defense Force (ADF) after the Soviet Anti-Air Defenses, which integrated all its air defense capabilities – antiaircraft guns, rocket and missile units, interceptor planes, and radar and warning installations..

Its commander is Lt. Gen. Abdul Meniem Al-Toras.

Egyptian Navy

US Navy Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, the same type used by Egypt.

Although the Egyptian Navy is the smallest branch of the military, it is large by Middle Eastern standards. The Egyptian Navy is known to be the strongest in the African continent, and the largest in the Middle East in spite of the rapid growth of other countries' navies within the region.

Some fleet units are stationed in the Red Sea, but the bulk of the force remains in the Mediterranean. Navy headquarters and the main operational and training base are located at Ras el Tin near Alexandria. The current commander is Vice Admiral Osama El-Gendi.

The Navy also controls the Egyptian Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is responsible for the onshore protection of public installations near the coast and the patrol of coastal waters to prevent smuggling. it has an inventory consisting of about thirty five large patrol craft (each between twenty and thirty meters in length) and twenty smaller Bertram-class coastal patrol craft built in the United States.

See list of naval ships of Egypt for a list of vessels in service.

Egyptian Rapid deployment forces

Egyptian Rapid deployment forces (RDF) is one of the branches of the Egyptian Armed Forces. It was formed in March 2014 by the former defense minister field marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. It is mainly airborne troops with a special formation, and it is characterized by the ability to perform operations inside and outside the Egyptian mainland. It comprises the most efficient elements of the mechanized Infantry, armored corps, air defense, artillery and anti-tank teams.

Special Forces

Special forces in the Egyptian Armed forces are units under control of different branches. Most of the officers take the special Sa'ka Course. In addition to Sa'ka, Special forces take specialized training in the fields of Direct action, Hostage rescue, Counter-terrorism, Unconventional warfare, Special reconnaissance, Asymmetric warfare. However, Most information about Egyptian Army's units are classified.

Notable Special Forces in the Egyptian Armed Forces:

Unit 777

Special forces from officers and noncommissioned officers from Infantry, Sa'ka, Paratroopers and Navy can take the Seal course which is considered the most advanced course in the Egyptian Armed Forces.


Military Industry

Egyptian-made Fahd APC

In addition to importing weapons, Egypt maintains a large industrial fortress as it's military industry is considered the most important in the Arab World. State-owned enterprises which lays under control of the Armament Authority headed by a major general, are the main domestic producers of Egypt's defense systems.

Arab Organization for Industrialization, with has about 19,000 employees out of which are 1250 engineers, more than nine military factories producing both civilian and military products is considered Egypt military's most important domestic weapons supplier.

Egypt's Main battle tank the M1 Abrams is made locally under license in addition to Egyptian-Upgraded Ramses II, T-62 and T-45E. Egyptian Military industry includes Sakr Eye missiles, (Nile 23, Sinai 23) Self-propelled air defense, RPGs. K-8E Trainer aircrafts, in addition to aircrafts overhaul and maintenance.

Locally made military vehicles include various Fahd APCs and IFVs, EFIVs, SIFV, Walid MKII, Jeep Wrangler TJL, Jeep J8, Kader-320 armored vehicle, Mercedes G-320 armored vehicle, Iveco VM 90 and Hotspur HUSSARD.

Egypt also locally produce small arms such as Helwan, Helwan 920 guns, Misr machine gun, Maadi assault rifles, FN Minimi, FN MAG, SG-43 Goryunov, MK19.

Weapons of mass destruction

Egypt, with a history of using weapons of mass destruction, remains one of only four countries not to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and hasn't ratified the Biological Weapons Convention. Egypt's chemical weapons program is the most developed of its pursuit of developing a Weapons of Mass Destruction program though it is thought this reached its peak in the 1960s. Egypt was one of the few countries to use chemical weapons after WWI during the North Yemen Civil War when phosgene and mustard gas was used against Royalist forces in Northern Yemen. Egypt has maintained a policy of not signing the Chemical Weapons Convention until questions regarding Israel's nuclear weapons program are answered.[37] Egypt signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) on April 10, 1972 but has not ratified it.

Prior to signing the BWC President Anwar Sadat of Egypt made the following comment to a question about Israel and should they use Biological weapons.

"The only reply to biological warfare is that we too should use biological warfare. I believe that the density of the Israeli population confined in a small area would provide the opportunity to reply with the same weapon if they should begin using it. Briefly, we have the instruments of biological warfare in the refrigerators and we will not use them unless they begin to use them."[38]

Military Exercises

Left: An Egyptian Army M60A1 Tank takes part in a live fire exercise during Exercise BRIGHT STAR '94; Right: Egyptian, Pakistani and American paratroopers during Military Operations in Urban Terrain training at the Mubarak Military City.

The Egyptian Armed forces' different branches are engaged in annually military exercises locally in addition to exercises with different armies including:

Military academies

  • Nasser Academy for Military Science
  • The Egyptian Military Academy
  • The Egyptian Naval Academy
  • The Egyptian Air Academy
  • The Egyptian Air Defense Academy
  • The Egyptian Military Technical College
  • The Egyptian Military faculty of medicine
  • Commanders & Staff Commanders College
  • Reserve Officers College
  • The military technical institute
  • The Reserve officers' faculty
  • The Technical institute for nursing for females

Non-Military affairs

The Egyptian Armed Forces established the "The National Service's projects' organization" which has more than 10 sub-companies and factroies specialized in public service and civil production including chemicals, Cements, plastics, housing construction, consumer goods and military-owned resorts management.

The Armed forces of Egypt helped building several national projects such as construction of Egypt's main roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, stadiums, clubs, hospitals, international medical centers, medical units, schools, scientific centers, educational centers, cities, factories, desert land reclamation, slums developments, water desalination plants and faculties.[39]

Egyptian Armed forces also has 3 football clubs playing in the Egyptian Premier League. El-Entag El-Harby SC (Military Production), Tala'ea El-Gaish SC (Army's Vanguards) and Haras El-Hodood SC (Border Guards).

See also


  1. ^ "Military Strength of Egypt". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  2. ^ "Military Strength of Egypt". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  3. ^ "Military Strength of Egypt". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  4. ^ "". 
  5. ^ "CIA-The World Factbook-Africa-Egypt". CIA. Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Reuters (November 28, 2013). "Egypt's new constitution strengthens army's 'state within a state' status". Haaretz. Retrieved December 2, 2014. 
  7. ^ Barry Lando (July 4, 2013). "Egypt's Military State Within a State". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 2, 2014. That turbulence was threatening not just the survival of Egypt, but, more to the point, it was menacing the vast state within a state that Egypt's military presides over. 
  8. ^ title=Egypt%11--%20Britannica%20Online%20Encyclopedia "Egypt". Britannica. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  9. ^ "The Egyptian Threat and the Prospects for War in the Middle East". NATIV. November 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  10. ^ Global Diversity: Winning Customers and Engaging Employees Within World Markets. Intercultural Press. 2006. ISBN . Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  11. ^ "Egypt to launch first spy satellite". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  12. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth (28 January 2011). "Egyptian Military Chiefs Cut Pentagon Visit Short". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  13. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth; Mark Landler contributed reporting, "Calling for Restraint, Pentagon Faces Test of Influence With Ally". The New York Times. 29 January 2011 (30 January 2011, p. A1, New York edition). Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  14. ^ Murdock, Heather (February 11, 2011). "Crowds rejoice as Egypt’s Mubarak steps down, hands power to military". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 11, 2011. 
  15. ^;-amends--Con.aspx
  16. ^ Kirkpatrick, David; Mayy El Sheikh (20 August 2013). "An Egypt Arrest, and a Brotherhood on the Run". New York Times. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mohamed Morsi ousted in Egypt's second revolution in two years". The Guardian. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Mohamed Morsi ousted in Egypt's second revolution in two years". The Atlantic. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Anti-Mursi ‘Rebel’ campaign receives more than 22 million signatures". Al Arabiya. 29 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Millions flood Egypt's streets to demand Mursi quit". Reuters. 30 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "Egypt protests: President Morsi removed by army, reportedly put under house arrest". The Associated Press and Reuters=3 July 2013. 3 July 2013. 
  22. ^ "Scenesetter: President Mubarak's visit to Washington". US Department of State. 2009-05-19. 
  23. ^ David Costello (February 1, 2011). "Nation locked in a deadly stalemate". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  24. ^ "Egypt May Not Need Fighter Jets, But The U.S. Keeps Sending Them Anyway."
  25. ^ a b c Cambanis, Thanassis (11 September 2010). "Succession Gives Army a Stiff Test in Egypt". New York Times. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  26. ^ KIRKPATRICK, DAVID D.; MAYY EL SHEIKH (December 23, 2012). "Egypt Opposition Gears Up After Constitution Passes". New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2013. the constitution’s principal defects were not about religion. The biggest problem, he said, is that it protects the Egyptian military from legal and parliamentary oversight, engraving its autonomy in the constitution. Leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood had said privately for months that they were willing to provide the military such constitutional protections in order to ease the transition of power from the generals who assumed control from Mr. Mubarak. 
  27. ^ "Egypt: New Constitution Mixed on Support of Rights". November 30, 2012. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 26 September 2013. But the latest draft, unlike the earlier version, defers to objections from the country’s military leadership and removes the clear prohibition on trials of civilians before military courts. 
  28. ^ "Egypt's El-Sisi bids military farewell, says he will run for presidency". Ahram Online. 26 March 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  29. ^ "Former army chief scores landslide victory in Egypt presidential polls". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  30. ^ Egypt: Who Calls the Shots?(relevance?) Joshua Hammer|| 18 August 2011| (free online article not complete, does not include quoted portion).
  31. ^ Army Economy between dramatize and the dismantling of the state 12 April 2012| (Arabic Article).
  32. ^ "Egyptian Armed Forces Hospitals". 
  33. ^ Aircraft Strength by Country
  34. ^ Helicopter Strength by Country
  35. ^ [1]
  36. ^ [2]
  37. ^ "Chemical Weapons Program - Egypt". Retrieved 2014-02-03. 
  38. ^ Julian Perry Robinson, The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare: Volume II: CB Weapons Today (Stockholm, SIPRI, 1973), p. 241.
  39. ^ "The National Service's projects' organization". Egyptian Ministry of Defence. 

Further reading

  • Kenneth M. Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness 1948-91, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London, 2002, and Pollack's book reviewed in International Security, Vol. 28, No.2.

External links

  • Egyptian Armed Forces
  • CIA World Factbook
  • FAS
  • GlobalSecurity
  • Department of State, Academics see the military in decline, but retaining strong influence, 23 September 2009 (US Embassy Cables, The Guardian, 2011)
  • Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, The New York Times, February 10, 2011
  • Egypt's military leadership, Aljazeera English, February 11, 2011
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