The Egyptian military has asked Russia to supply electronic systems for the Mistral class helicopter carriers bought from France, according to a diplomatic military source quoted by TASS.
“After the talks with Russia's Rosoboronexport (the state weapons exporter), Egypt’s military delegation has clearly said it wants to install Russian electronic equipment, including electronic warfare systems on the Mistral carriers, which it has purchased from France and are awaiting delivery,” said the source.
Examples of electronic warfare systems will be shown at the next round of negotiations with Russia's arms exporter. The talks might be held the next month, according to the source.
There has been no official comment on the matter from Moscow.
The Presidential Chief of Staff Sergey Ivanov has said Cairo could purchase $1 billion worth of equipment and the aircraft for the new ships. Ivanov joked that without the hardware the Mistral is just a tin can.
The Mistral-class carriers were originally built for the Russian Navy in France. Under the deal signed in 2011 the two carriers were to be delivered in 2014 and 2015. However, France reneged after Crimea’s reunification with Russia and the outbreak of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
In October 2015 Paris and Cairo signed a $950 million contract for the sale of both carriers. They made the agreement after France officially terminated the $1.3 billion deal with Moscow.
The Mistral ships are designed to carry helicopters, tanks and hundreds of troops, and are equipped with a sophisticated command and control system.