Egyptian Armed Forces

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Egyptian Armed Forces
Coat of arms of Egypt (Official).svg
Coat of arms of Egypt
Current form1952
Service branches Flag of the Army of Egypt.svg Egyptian Army
Flag of the Egyptian Navy.svg Egyptian Navy
Air Force Ensign of Egypt.svg Egyptian Air Force
Flag of the Egyptian Air Defense Forces.svg Egyptian Air Defense Forces
Headquarters Cairo
Supreme Commander Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Minister of Defence & Commander-in-Chief Mohamed Ahmed Zaki
Chief of Staff Mohammed Farid Hegazy  [ ar ]
Military age18–49
Conscription1–3 years depending on circumstances
Active personnel438,500, incl. 290,000–320,000 conscripts [1]
Reserve personnel479,000 [2]
BudgetUS$ 7.4 to 11.1 billion (2019), incl. US$1.3 billion of U.S military aid annually [3]
Percent of GDP2-3% (2019) [3]
Domestic suppliersArab Organization for Industrialization
Foreign suppliersFlag of the United States.svg  United States
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
Flag of France.svg  France
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
Related articles
History Second World War

1948 Arab–Israeli War
Egyptian Revolution of 1952
Tripartite Aggression
North Yemeni Civil War
Six-Day War
Nigerian Civil War
War of Attrition
October War
Shaba I
Libyan–Egyptian War
Gulf War
War on Terror
Egyptian revolution of 2011


2013 Egyptian coup d'état
Ranks Army ranks
Air Force ranks
Navy ranks
Military ranks of Egypt
(until 1958)
Egyptian ranks
General of the army/
Field Marshal
Fariq awwal
فريق أول
Colonel General
Lieutenant General
Major General
أمير آلاي
قائم مقام
Lieutenant Colonel
Mulazim awwal
ملازم أول
First Lieutenant
Mulazim thani
ملازم ثاني
Second Lieutenant
Non-commissioned officers

The Egyptian Armed Forces are the state military organisation responsible for the defense of Egypt. They consist of the Egyptian Army, Egyptian Navy, Egyptian Air Force and Egyptian Air Defense Forces. [4]

Egypt Country spanning North Africa and Southwest Asia

Egypt, officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is a Mediterranean country bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. Across the Gulf of Aqaba lies Jordan, across the Red Sea lies Saudi Arabia, and across the Mediterranean lie Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, although none share a land border with Egypt.

Egyptian Army land warfare branch of Egypts military

The Egyptian Army or Egyptian Ground Forces is the largest service branch within the Egyptian Armed Forces. The modern army was established during the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha (1805–1849), widely considered to be the "founder of modern Egypt". Its most significant engagements in the 20th century were in Egypt's five wars with the State of Israel, one of which, the Suez Crisis of 1956, also saw it do combat with the armies of Britain, and France. The Egyptian army was also engaged heavily in the protracted North Yemen Civil War, and the brief Libyan-Egyptian War in July 1977. Its last major engagement was Operation Desert Storm, the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in 1991, in which the Egyptian army constituted the second-largest contingent of the allied forces.

Egyptian Navy maritime warfare branch of Egypts military

The Egyptian Navy, also known as the Egyptian Naval Force, is the maritime branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. It is the largest navy in the Middle East and Africa, and is the sixth largest in the world measured by the number of vessels. The navy's missions include protection of more than 2,000 kilometers of coastline of the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, defense of approaches to the Suez Canal, and support for army operations. The majority of the modern Egyptian Navy was created with the help of the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The navy received ships in the 1980s from China and other, western, sources. In 1989, the Egyptian Navy had 18,000 personnel as well as 2,000 personnel in the Coast Guard.

In addition, Egypt maintains 397,000 paramilitary troops. [2] The Central Security Forces comes under the control of the Ministry of Interior. The Border Guard Forces falls under the control of the Ministry of Defense.

Paramilitary Militarised force or other organization

A paramilitary is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but which is formally not part of a country's armed forces.

Central Security Forces

The 450,000 strong General Security and Central Security Forces CSF organisation is an Egyptian paramilitary force which is responsible for assisting the Egyptian National Police (ENP) for the security of governmental fixed sites, foreign embassies & missions, riots & crowds control, publicly crowded events, high risk arrests, disaster response and SWAT operations. They are a vital arm of Egypt's National Security apparatus.

Ministry of Interior (Egypt) part of the Cabinet of Egypt

The Ministry of Interior of Egypt is a part of the Cabinet of Egypt. It is responsible for law enforcement in Egypt. On March 5, 2015 Magdy Abdel Ghaffar was appointed Minister of Interior.

The modern Egyptian armed forces have been involved in numerous crises and wars since independence, from the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Egyptian Revolution of 1952, Suez Crisis, North Yemen Civil War, Six-Day War, Nigerian Civil War, War of Attrition, Yom Kippur War, Egyptian bread riots, 1986 Egyptian conscripts riot, Libyan–Egyptian War, Gulf War, War on Terror, Egyptian Crisis, Second Libyan Civil War, War on ISIL and the Sinai insurgency.

1948 Arab–Israeli War First Arab-Israeli war

The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, or the First Arab–Israeli War, was fought between the newly declared State of Israel and a military coalition of Arab states over the control of former British Palestine, forming the second and final stage of the 1947–49 Palestine war.

Suez Crisis diplomatic and military confrontation in late 1956 involving Egypt, Britain, France and Israel

The Suez Crisis, or the Second Arab–Israeli War, also named the Tripartite Aggression in the Arab world and Operation Kadesh or Sinai War in Israel, was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, followed by the United Kingdom and France. The aims were to regain Western control of the Suez Canal and to remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who had just nationalized the canal. After the fighting had started, political pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Nations led to a withdrawal by the three invaders. The episode humiliated the United Kingdom and France and strengthened Nasser.

North Yemen Civil War

The North Yemen Civil War was fought in North Yemen from 1962 to 1970 between royalist partisans of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom and supporters of the Yemen Arab Republic. The war began with a coup d'état carried out in 1962 by revolutionary republicans led by the army under the command of Abdullah as-Sallal, who dethroned the newly crowned Imam Muhammad al-Badr and declared Yemen a republic under his presidency. The Imam escaped to the Saudi Arabian border where he rallied popular support from northern Shia tribes to retake power, escalating shortly to a full-scale civil war.


The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the senior uniformed officer, is Colonel General. Mohamed Zaki (since June 2018), [5] and the Chief of Staff is Lieutenant General. Mohammed Farid Hegazy  [ ar ] (since October 2017). [6]

The Egyptian Army ranks are the military insignia used by the Egyptian Army.

Mohamed Ahmed Zaki Mohamed is an Egyptian Colonel General who has been Minister of Defense of Egypt since 14 June 2018. Zaki has previously held the command for the Egyptian Paratroopers from December 2008 to August 2012, he then became the commander of the Republican Guard Forces until June 2018.
He was sworn in on 14 June 2018, succeeding Sedki Sobhy as the minister of defense.

The Armed Forces' inventory includes equipment from different countries around the world. 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 M1 Abrams tank. Egypt is a participant in NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue forum. 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 EgyptSat 1 in 2007. [7]

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

M1 Abrams American main battle tank

The M1 Abrams is a third-generation American main battle tank named after General Creighton Abrams and designed by Chrysler Defense. Designed as a highly mobile main-battle tank for modern armored ground warfare, the M1 is well armed and heavily armored. The Abrams introduced several notable and innovative features such as a powerful 1500 hp AGT1500 multifuel turbine engine, sophisticated Chobham composite armor, a computer fire control system and separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment along with NBC protection for crew safety. While the initial models of the M1 were armed with a licensed-produced 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7 gun, later variants feature a licensed Rheinmetall 120 mm L/44 for increased firepower. Weighing nearly 68 short tons, it is one of the heaviest main battle tanks in service.

Tank Tracked heavy armored fighting vehicle

A tank is an armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat. Tanks have heavy firepower, strong armour, and good battlefield manoeuvrability provided by tracks and a powerful engine; usually their main armament is mounted in a turret. They are a mainstay of modern 20th and 21st century ground forces and a key part of combined arms combat.

The Armed Forces enjoy considerable power and independence within the Egyptian state. [8] They are also influential in business, engaging in road and housing construction, consumer goods, resort management, [8] and vast 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). [8] According to journalist Joshua Hammer, "as much as 40% of the Egyptian economy" is controlled by the Egyptian armed forces, [9] and other authoritative works such as Springborg reinforce this trend.

Senior members of the military can convene for 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 February 11, 2011. [10]

Twentieth century history

In the early 1950s, politics rather than military competence was the main criterion for promotion. [11] The Egyptian commander, Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer, was a purely political appointee who owed his position to his close friendship with Nasser. He would prove himself grossly incompetent as a general during the Suez Crisis. [12] Rigid lines between officers and men in the Egyptian Army led to a mutual "mistrust and contempt" between officers and the men who served under them. [13] Tsouras writes that the Israelis "seized and held the ..initiative throughout the campaign and quickly destroyed the Egyptian defenses." [14] In a few instances, such as at the Mitla Pass and Abu Aghelia, Egyptian defenses were well-organised and stubbornly held, but this did not make enough difference overall. Nasser ordered a retreat from the Sinai which allowed the Israelis to wreak havoc and drive on the Canal; on 5 November British and French parachute landings began in the Canal Zone; but by 7 November U.S. pressure had forced an end to the fighting. [14]

Before the June 1967 War, the army divided its personnel into four regional commands (Suez, Sinai, Nile Delta, and Nile Valley up to the Sudan). [15] The remainder of Egypt's territory, over 75%, was the sole responsibility of the Frontier Corps.

In May 1967, Nasser closed the Straits of Tiran to passage of Israeli ships. [16] Israel considered the closure of the straits deadly serious, and prepared their armed forces to attack. [16] On June 3, three battalions of Egyptian commandos were flown to Amman to take part in operations from Jordan. But U.S. historian Trevor N. Dupuy, writing in 1978, argues from King Hussein of Jordan's memoirs that Nasser did not intend to start an immediate war, but instead was happy with his rhetorical and political accomplishments of the past weeks. [17] Nevertheless, Israel felt they needed to take action.

The Egyptian army now comprised two armoured and five infantry divisions, all deployed in the Sinai. [18] In the weeks before Six-Day War began, Egypt made several significant changes to its military organisation. Field Marshal Amer created a new command interposed between the general staff and the Eastern Military District commander, Lieutenant General Salah ad-Din Muhsin. [19] This new Sinai Front Command was placed under General Abdel Mohsin Murtagi, who had returned from Yemen in May 1967. Six of the seven divisions in the Sinai (with the exception of the 20th Infantry 'Palestinian' Division) had their commanders and chiefs of staff replaced. What fragmentary information is available suggests to authors such as Pollack that Amer was trying to improve the competence of the force, replacing political appointees with veterans of the Yemen war. [19]

After the war began on 5 June 1967, Israel attacked Egypt, destroyed its air force on the ground, and occupied the Sinai Peninsula. The forward deployed Egyptian forces were shattered in three places by the attacking Israelis. Field Marshal Amer, overwhelmed by events, and ignoring previous plans, ordered a retreat by the Egyptian Army to the Suez Canal. [20] This developed into a rout as the Israelis harried the retreating troops from the ground and from the air.

Scholars such as Kenneth Pollack, deAtkine, and Robert Springborg have identified a number of reasons why Arab (and Egyptian) armies performed so poorly against Israel from 1948 to 1991 and afterwards. In battle against Israel from 1948–91, junior officers consistently demonstrated an unwillingness to manoeuvre, ‘innovate, improvise, take initiative, or act independently’. [21] Ground forces units suffered from constant manipulation of information and an inattention to intelligence gathering and objective analysis. Units from the two divisions dispatched to Saudi Arabia in 1990–91, accompanied by U.S. personnel during the 1991 Gulf War, consistently reported fierce battles even though they actually encountered little or no resistance. This occurred whether or not they were accompanied by U.S. military personnel or journalists. [22] Later researchers such as Springborg have confirmed that the tendencies identified in the 1980s and 1990s persist in the Armed Forces in the twenty-first century. [23]


Egyptian Mi-8 Hip helicopters after unloading troops Egyptian Mi-8 Hip helicopters after unloading troops.jpg
Egyptian Mi-8 Hip helicopters after unloading troops

The inventory of the Egyptian armed forces includes equipment from the United States, France, Brazil, 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 M1A1 Abrams tank.

Conscripts for the Egyptian 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.

Air Force

Egyptian Mirage 5 at Cairo-West 1985 Egyptian Mirage 5 at Cairo-West 1985.JPEG
Egyptian Mirage 5 at Cairo-West 1985

The Egyptian Air Force (EAF) is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. Currently, the backbone of the EAF is the F-16. The Mirage 2000 is the other modern interceptor used by the EAF. The Egyptian Air Force has 216 F-16s (plus 20 on order). [24] It has about 579 combat aircraft and 149 armed helicopters as it continues to fly extensively upgraded MiG-21s, F-7 Skybolts, F-4 Phantoms, Dassault Mirage Vs, and the C-130 Hercules among other planes. Egypt currently operates 11 Dassault Rafale a French twin-engine fighter aircraft as of July 2017 with another 24 on order.

An Egyptian F16C Pilot Egyptian air force pilot.jpg
An Egyptian F16C Pilot

Air Defense Forces

The Egyptian Air Defense Forces or ADF (Quwwat El Diffaa El Gawwi in Arabic) is Egypt's military command responsible for air defense. Egypt patterned its Air Defense Force (ADF) after the Soviet Air Defence Force, which integrated all its air defense capabilities – antiaircraft guns, rocket and missile units, interceptor planes, and radar and warning installations. It appears to comprise five subordinate divisions, 110 surface-to-air missile battalions, and 12 anti-aircraft artillery brigades. [25] Personnel quality may be 'several notches below' that of the Air Force personnel. [26]

Its commander is Lieutenant General Abd El Aziz Seif-Eldeen.

The Egyptian Navy was established after the Second World War. 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 Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed, who relieved Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish.[ citation needed ] The Chief of Staff of the Navy is Rear Admiral Mohamed Abdel Aziz El Sayed.[ citation needed ]

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.

Arab Organization for Industrialization

The Arab Organization for Industrialization supervises nine military factories which produce civilian goods as well as military products. Initially the owners of AOI were the governments of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, before the latter governments gave their shares back to Egypt in 1993, valued at $1.8 billion. AOI now is entirely owned by the government of Egypt. AOI has about 19,000 employees out of which are 1250 engineers. AOI fully owns 10 factories and shares in 2 joint ventures, plus the Arab Institute for Advanced Technology

Military schools

Egyptian Military Police Egyptian Military Police in Alexandria.jpg
Egyptian Military Police

There is an undergraduate military school for each branch of the Egyptian Military establishment, and they include:

Foreign military assistance

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 ($1.52 billion in 2019). [27] This level is second only to Israel. [28]

See also

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  1. IISS 2019, pp. 336–339.
  2. 1 2 IISS 2019, p. 336.
  3. 1 2 egypttoday 2019, p. 336.
  4. Staff, By the CNN Wire. "Egypt's military: Key facts" . Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  5. "Minister of Defense".
  6. "Chief of Staff".
  7. "Egypt to launch first spy satelllite". The Jerusalem Post . Retrieved 2009-03-31.
  8. 1 2 3 Cambanis, Thanassis (11 September 2010). "Succession Gives Army a Stiff Test in Egypt". The New York Times . Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  9. Egypt: Who Calls the Shots? Joshua Hammer|| 18 August 2011| (free online article not complete, does not include quoted portion)
  10. Murdock, Heather (February 11, 2011). "Crowds rejoice as Egypt's Mubarak steps down, hands power to military". The Washington Times . Retrieved February 11, 2011.
  11. Varble, Derek (2003) 'Essential Histories: The Suez Crisis 1956' p. 17.
  12. Varble 2003, Pollack 2002
  13. Varble, Derek (2003) p. 18.
  14. 1 2 Tsouras, 1994, 127.
  15. John Keegan, World Armies, Second Edition, MacMillan, 1983, p.165 ISBN   978-0-333-34079-0
  16. 1 2 Dupuy, Trevor N. (1978). Elusive Victory: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947–1974. London: MacDonald and Jane's. p. 228. ISBN   0-356-08090-0.
  17. T.N. Dupuy, 1978, 229–230, citing Hussein, My "War" with Israel, 1969.
  18. Tsouras, 'Changing Orders,' Facts on File, 1994, 191. Dupuy (1978) lists the 2nd, 3rd, 7th Infantry Division, 6th Mechanised, 20th Palestinian, and 4th Armoured, plus an armoured task force. Dupuy, 239–240.
  19. 1 2 Pollack, 2002, 60.
  20. Dupuy, 1978, 267–9.
  21. Pollack, Arabs at War: Military Effectiveness, 1948–1991, University of Nebraska Press, 2002, ISBN   0-8032-3733-2, 146.
  22. Pollack, 2002, 144.
  23. Springborg, Robert. "Learning from failure: Egypt." The Routledge Handbook of Civil-Military Relations. London: Routledge (2013): 93–109.
  24. "Military Database - Scramble". Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  25. Touchard, Laurent (2017). Forces Armees Africaines 2016–2017. Paris: Laurent Touchard. p. 58. ISBN   9781545499801.
  26. Touchard, 2017, 77.
  27. "Scenesetter: President Mubarak's visit to Washington". US Department of State. 2009-05-19. Archived from the original on 2011-01-27.
  28. David Costello (February 1, 2011). "Nation locked in a deadly stalemate". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2011-02-11.

Further reading