Following the Arab states’ (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar) trend of increased arms imports, Egypt increased remarkably (by 37%) its arms imports between the periods 2006-2010 and 2011-2015. In fact, following the military intervention in Yemen, this rise in military spending, was particularly noticeable in 2015.

Egyptian Arms’ production dates back to the 1950s. During that period, Egypt began to develop various aircraft (primary trainers and prototypes of fighters), a movement that was discouraged by the Soviets, who were the country’s main arms supplier of the North African country, till then. After turning to the West in the 1970s, while taking advantage as well of the high oil prices, the Egyptian Military Industry expanded, by opening itself up to foreign companies and through development of its exports. In the early 1980s, the local AOI’s (Arab Organization of Industries) annual production, was reported to be about $100 million, destined mainly to the Egyptian Forces, as well as to Iraq and other Arab-African states.

Nowadays, military goods produced in Egypt, encompass the whole range of potential products, from small calibre and heavy ammunition, mines, various explosives, anti-tank rockets, radars and other electronic equipment, weaponry systems, as well as the provision of communication and surveillance equipment, up to specific aircraft engines and complete platforms, such as training and jet aircraft, helicopters, tanks, armoured vehicles and ships.

At the moment, there are 16 government-controlled military factories, in the Egyptian territory, supervised by the National Organisation of Military Production. The main defence activities carried-out within these entities, are listed in the table below:



Military products


Abu-Kir Engineering Industries - (Factory 10)

Small arms and ammunition


Abu Zaabal Specialised Chemicals

(Egyptian chemical weapons manufacturing plant) - (Factory 18)

Explosives, propellants, mortar charges and rocket motors


Shobra Engineering - (Factory 27)

Small arms ammunition, anti-tank rockets


El Maasara Engineering - (Factory 45)

Signal pistol, commando's blade daggers and axes


Maadi Engineering - (Factory 54)

Rifles, pistols, and machine guns, light weapons (including the Egyptian version of the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle)


Helwan Non-Ferrous Industries - (Factory 63)

Brass casting for ammunition


Helwan Engineering Industries - (Factory 99)

Metal components for heavy ammunition (including metal parts for ammunition, shells, bombs and rockets)


Heliopolis Chemical Industries - (Factory 81)

Bombs and missile warheads, ammunition for tanks, artillery and mortars, antitank mines, hand grenades, fuses and high explosives; manufactures the SA-7 warheads, as well as 100mm and 115mm tank ammunition, 122mm rockets, 100 AA ammunition, aerial bombs, depth charges and other related products.


Abu Zaabal Engineering -

(Factory 100)

Explosives’ powder, industrial explosives, dynamite, automatic guns and artillery pieces up to 203mm calibre.


Projects include the 23mm Nile 23 and Sinai 23 air- defence gun vehicle, the manufacture of 105mm guns for upgrading T-55 tanks, and the Ramadan 23 indigenous 23mm weapon system.


Benha Electronic - (Factory 144)

Communications devices, radars and electronic equipment.


Tanks Production and Repair Company | Abu Zaabal Tank Repair Factory - (Factory 200)

Overhauled and repaired tanks and eventually became the producer of Egypt's main battle tank (M1 Abrams), under license from General Dynamics Land Systems.


Nowadays, the company produces M1A1 military tanks and other armoured vehicles (e.g. M88A2 recovery vehicles).


Kaha Chemical Industries - (Factory 270)

Medium-calibre ammunition, rifles and machine guns.


Helwan Metallic Appliances - (Factory 360)

Metallic components for mines


Hulwan Diesel Engines - (Factory 909)

Diesel engines


Helwan Workshop & MachineTools - (Factory 999)

Mortars and rocket launchers


Helwan Iron Foundries -

(Factory 9)

Casting of hematite iron, grey iron and steel


Moreover, the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) supervises 9 factories, of which 7 have strong military activities, and which are additional to the aforementioned list:

AOI Entity

Military Products

AOI Aircraft

Manufacture & assembly of fixed wing aircraft, auxiliary fuel tanks, repair & overhaul, airports ground equipment, manufacture of combat vehicles

AOI Engines

Overhaul & repair of aircraft engines, manufacture of engines’ spare parts, production of APUs (Auxiliary Power Units)

Arab British Dynamics (ABD)

Anti-tank guided missile systems, weapon & land navigation systems, precision electronics/mechanical/hydraulic components

Arab British Engines (ABECO)

Overhaul, maintenance & repair of helicopter, light aircraft and tank engines

Kader Factory for Developed Industries

Design & manufacture of armoured vehicles, manufacture of armour add-ons for military vehicles, installation of weapon systems, design and manufacture of aircraft bombs


Freight wagons, bogies, etc.

Helwan Factory for Helicopter Production & maintenance

Manufacture under license of the Gazelle helicopter, repair and overhaul of Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopters, and production of the SAHM1 target drone.

In addition, other companies with military activities in the Egyptian territory, are:

Egyptian Advanced Systems & Technologies (EAST)

Air navigation & communication systems, smart chips & border control solutions, automated systems

Alkan Air

Aircraft MRO, testing of aircraft parts and logistics services

 Since the establishment of the indigenous Military Industry, Egypt seems to have taken advantage on several occasions of the country’s collaboration with other countries in the related domain, with local companies mostly benefitting in terms of expanding/upgrading their facilities, as well as from state-of-the-art technology transfers, from major OEMs/Primes (See table below).

Collaborating Companies

Country of Origin



De Havilland (now Viking Air)

Pratt & Whitney


CATIC (China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation)

Norinco Group




Aerospatiale (now part of Airbus Group)


Airbus Group








British Aerospace (now BAE SYSTEMS)


United Kingdom (UK)

General Electric (GE)

Lockheed Martin

United States (US)

With a view to the future, it seems only logical for Egypt to aim to benefit much in the same way from other such collaborations and procurements, perhaps however focussing more on the expansion of its arms production capabilities and portfolio, through medium or large scale industrial projects, to build related advanced defence products, under license or via local joint ventures.