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Egypt's HA-2000 'Khopesh'

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Helwan Ha-2000 'Khopesh' - 76th Squadron, 222nd Tactical Fighter Brigade, Egyptian Air Force, 2002

The abandonment of the Helwan HA-300 single-seat jet fighter in 1969 seemed to have brought an end any hope of Egypt fielding an indigenous combat aircraft but in the aftermath of the short 1977 Libyan-Egyptian War the Egyptian Air Force issued a requirement for a single-seat multi-role fighter to replace the Su-7's and MiG-21's and also supplement the newly introduced MiG-23's. The Camp David Accords of 1978 saw a sudden lurch in Egyptian foreign policy towards the West and away from Egypt's Arab backers including Saudi Arabia who abruptly cancelled it's previous agreement to purchase a batch of 50 Northrop F-5E's and transfer them to Egypt. Whilst the US State Department had agreed to supply Egypt with 35 ex-USAF F-4E Phantom's (under the project name of Peace Pharaoh) Egypt's President Anwar Sadat was anxious not to become totally reliant upon one political block and authorised several project studies for indigenous weapons for the Egyptian Armed Forces including a new main battle tank and a new single-seat multi-role fighter.

The German engineers who had assisted the Egyptian General Aero Organisation in the design and production of the Helwan HA-300 had gone back to Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) in Ottobrun in 1969 and had continued to work on various project studies including the TKF-90 single-seat delta wing twin-jet fighter aircraft being developed for the Luftwaffe. However, this could be seen as being slightly too big and also too expensive for Egypt's requirements so MBB assembled a new project design team led by Günter Ludwig Bölkow tasked with designing a small multi-role lightweight fighter for the Egyptian Air Force with a planned in-service date of 1990. Bölkow's team produced the innovative ECA90 (Egyptian Combat Aircraft for 1990 a small, single-engined design with a delta-wing having 50 degrees of sweepback at the wing root leading edge but with 63 degrees of sweepback on the outer wing leading edge providing better high-alpha performance characteristics than conventional wing designs. MBB needed to look no further than the excellent Turbo-Union RB199 afterburning turbofan that was ideally sized for the ECA90 and had been running since 1972 under the test Vulcan bomber and had accummulated plenty of flight hours in the Panavia Tornado test programme. By early 1981 the ECA90 design had met with the approval of the Egyptian Air Force and at the insistence of President Anwar Sedat the design was re-designated as the Helwan HA-2000 'Khopesh' with orders placed with the Helwan Aircraft Factory (a division of the Egyptian General Aero Organisation) for 90 aircraft. 

The assassination of President Anwar Sedat in October 1981 might have created a hiatus in the HA-2000 programme but incoming President Hosni Mubarak was previously a career officer in the Egyptian Air Force (indeed, a former air chief marshal) and was a keen supporter of the HA-2000 programme. Whilst Mubarak's support for the programme was solid he did allow for a slight stretching out of the programme calling for a first flight in March 1987 and a service entry date of April 1992. Mubarak considered that this would give the Helwan Aircraft Factory sufficient time to better marshal it's industrial resources, recruit personnel, create infrastructure and understand which advanced technologies could be developed locally and which advanced technologies would need to be imported. Undoubtedly, the MBB team imbedded into Helwan's Factory 36 facility helped smooth out any difficulties and Helwan and MBB worked miracles to meet the prototype first flight deadline but some slippage crept in to the flight test programme to delay the entry into service. The HA-2000 'Khopesh' entered service with the 76th Squadron of the 222nd Tactical Fighter Brigade based at Cairo-West Air Base in May 1993 and eventually equipped six tactical fighter brigades and also the 'Silver Stars' aerobatic team who performed a flypast at the funeral service of former President Hosni Mubarak in late February 2020.






3D Model: Ale Ducat

Skin Credit: Torno

(Banidos Team)

Decals.ini attached


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