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During naval exercise in Egypt Ka-52 and AH-64 helicopters take off from amphibious assault ship ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser


In December 2019, Egyptian Naval Forces conducted a large military exercise codenamed "Friendship Bridge 2019" in the Mediterranean Sea using latest acquisition of combat ships including the ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser (L1010), a Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) of the French Mistral class, as well as Perry-class frigates, missile boats (Soliman Ezzat), Class-209 submarine, a number of anti-submarine units and special forces.


During naval exercise in Egypt Ka 52 and AH 64 helicopters take off from amphibious assault ship ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser 925 001 Russian-made Kamov Ka-52K and American-made AH-64E Apache helicopters prepare to take off from ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser Mistral-class amphibious assault ship during naval exercise Friendship Bridge 2019 (Picture source: Egyptian MoD)


This naval military exercise also included different scenarios of amphibious operations showcasing the capabilities of Egypt's general command in supervising, commanding and controlling this type of complex maneuvers.

For the first time, Egyptian Naval Forces used modern attack helicopters including the Russian-made Kamov Ka-52 and the American-made AH-64D/E Apache that took off from the Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Gamal Abdel Nasser (L1010).

ENS Gamal Abdel Nasser (L1010) is an Egyptian Navy amphibious assault ship of the French-designed Mistral-class which is also used as a helicopter carrier by the Egyptian Navy. Egypt is the first and only country in Africa and the Middle East to have that type of combat ship.

The Mistral-class amphibious assault ships are designed to transport troops. They can be also used as command ships. The ships of the type built by France can carry up to 16 heavy or 32 light helicopters and up to 900 servicemen with armored vehicles and landing boats.

In January 2016, it was announced that Egypt would acquire 46 navalised Kamov Ka-52K attack helicopters to equip its new French-built Mistral-class amphibious assault ships. Ka-52K Katran Helicopter is a ship-based version of the Ka-52 Alligator reconnaissance and combat helicopter. It is an attack helicopter armed with a 2A42-1 30mm automatic cannon able to engage land and aerial targets with a maximum firing range of 1,500 meters. It is also able to launch Kh-31 and Kh-35 air-to-surface missiles.

In 1995, the Egyptian Air Force placed an order for 36 AH-64A helicopters. These Apaches were delivered with the same avionics as the U.S. fleet at that time, except for indigenous radio equipment. In 2000, Boeing announced an order to remanufacture Egypt's existing Apache fleet to the AH-64D configuration.

In November 2018, The US State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Egypt of ten AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters for an estimated cost of $1.0 billion, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on November 27, 2018. The AH-64D Apache Longbow is a modernized version of the original AH-64 equipped with a glass cockpit and advanced sensors, the most noticeable of which being the AN/APG-78 Longbow millimeter-wave fire-control radar (FCR) target acquisition system and the Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI), housed in a dome located above the main rotor.

The AH-64E features improved digital connectivity, the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, more powerful T700-GE-701D engines with upgraded face gear transmission to accommodate more power, the capability to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), full IFR capability, and improved landing gear. The updated Longbow radar has an oversea capacity, potentially enabling naval strikes. The E model is to be fit for maritime operations.