Russia, Egypt complete Arrow of Friendship 2019 joint exercise

Russia and Egypt have completed the ‘Arrow of Friendship 2019’ (Strela Druzhby 2019) joint exercise held between October 26 and November 7 near Cairo, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Russia Egypt complete Arrow of Friendship 2019 joint exercise 1
Egyptian ZSU-23-4 Shilka-M4 (Picture source: Twitter account of Mahmoud Gamal)

Several tactical scenarios were played during the exercise. "On November 7, the battalions armed with the Buk-M2E and Tor-M2E surface-to-air missile systems destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle approaching an airfield, while the crews of the all-terrain vehicle-mounted Igla-S man-portable air defense [MANPAD] systems shot down a rotary-wing practice target and the [ZSU-23-4M4] Shilka-M4 self-propelled anti-aircraft gun [SPAAG] systems engaged the simulated enemy’s manpower and light armor," the MoD said in a statement, adding that the abovementioned air defense assets had been controlled by joint Russian-Egyptian teams.

The Russian-Egyptian units operating the Shilka-M4 SPAAGs and the Igla-S MANPADs were also protecting an Egyptian tank detachment against an aerial attack launched by combat UAVs. "The Russian Polyana-D4M1 automated command and control [C2] system was controlling the Russian and Egyptian air defence units," said the MoD.

An Egyptian mechanized infantry unit armed with then BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles also joined the exercise.

The Polyana-D4M1 C2 system made its debut in a desert environment during the ‘Arrow of Friendship 2019’ exercise. According to the MoD, the C2 system processes radar information, controls air defense assets, provides safe flight routes to allied aircraft, sends target data, and coordinates air defense actions.

Owing to the use of widespread 23 mm munitions and four ready-to-use short-range SAMs, the upgraded Shilka-M4 SPAAG can effectively repel drone swarms.

Russia Egypt complete Arrow of Friendship 2019 joint exercise 2
Egyptian air defense systems (Picture source: Twitter account of Mahmoud Gamal)

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