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al-Zafir and al-Kahir missiles made in Egypt

Posted by Arab Defense Industry on Saturday, February 28, 2004

Beginning in the 1950s, Egypt determinedly pursued an indigenous missile production capability.

Yet difficulties in obtaining parts, loss of suppliers, and the departure of key scientists from the country interrupted development of Egypt's missile program. By the time of the 1967 Six-Day War, the program had come to a virtual standstill. Lacking indigenous production capabilities, Egypt turned to the Soviet Union for help. Moscow provided a small number of Scud B short-range ballistic missiles, subsequently used to minimal military effect by Egypt during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War.

Egyptian leaders continued to believe that ballistic missiles would play a significant role in any future regional conflict, and therefore remained committed to developing strong indigenous capabilities.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Egypt initiated missile technology partnerships with the USSR, North Korea, Argentina, and Iraq. The projects yielded mixed results, and although Egypt was able to make some key improvements to its arsenal, pressure from members of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) succeeded in largely ending Egyptian ballistic missile development efforts in the 1990s. Since abandoning its ballistic missile ambitions, Cairo has focused on improving its air and sea defense systems, primarily through U.S. military technology transfers, and has cooperated with Russia to improve its satellite capabilities.


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