Egyptian Mistrals using Avengers for air defence

13 July 2017
A still from the Egyptian MoD video showing Avengers strapped to the deck of one of a Mistral LHD. Source: Egyptian Ministry of Defence

The Egyptian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed that AN/TWQ-1 Avengers are being put on the flight decks of Mistral landing helicopter dock (LHD) amphibious assault ships to provide short-range air defence.

The Avenger, which has been in service with the Egyptian Air Defence Forces for many years, consists of a manned turret armed with eight Stinger missiles mounted on a modified Humvee.

The confirmation of its new naval role came in the form of a video that the MoD released on 12 July showing the ‘Cleopatra 2017’ joint exercise with the French Navy. An Egyptian Mistral was seen with at least three Avengers strapped to its flight deck and their turrets rotating as if scanning for targets.

Two vehicles that resembled Avengers have been previously spotted on the flight deck of an Egyptian Mistral, suggesting that this is becoming standard practice.

Egypt’s Mistrals were built for Russia in France and were expected to be fitted with two 3M-47 Gibka turrets with Igla-S missiles and two AK-630 rotary cannons to provide short-range air defence. However, the LHDs could not be delivered to Russia due to the European Union sanctions imposed on Moscow after it annexation of Crimea, at which point Egypt stepped in to buy them without their Russian systems.

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