Who has the strongest military on Africa?
Egypt maintains a large paramilitary force under the control of the Ministry of Interior. They number around 250,000 strong and are known as the Central Security Forces. The government also has a relatively strong National Guard and Border Security Forces however they, unlike the Central Security Forces, come under the control of the Ministry of Defence and are reported to number 60,000 and 20,000 respectively.
The Commander-in-Chief is Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. The Chief of Staff is Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan.
The armed forces inventory includes equipment from the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern American, French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt, such as the M1 Abrams tank. To bolster stability and moderation in the region, Egypt has provided military assistance and training to a number of African and Arab states. Although not a NATO member, Egypt remains a strong military and strategic partner and is a participant in NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue forum. The Egyptian Armed Forces is considered to be the strongest military power in Africa and the Middle East. Egypt is the only Arab country with a spy satellite and will launch another one by the end of 2007.
The armed forces inventory includes equipment from the United States, France, Brazil, the United Kingdom, the former Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China. Equipment from the former Soviet Union is being progressively replaced by more modern American, French, and British equipment, a significant portion of which is built under license in Egypt, such as the M1 Abrams tank which makes Egypt the owner of the biggest number of latest generation MBTs, and the second after Syria in case of the older generations.
The Egyptian Army having the largest number of equipment, and personnel, beside having many co-training operations with other countries like the United States, and a leading modern technology warfare, is thought to be the strongest in both Africa and the Middle East.
The Egyptian Air Force or EAF is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. Currently, the backbone of the EAF is the F-16. The Mirage 2000 is the other modern interceptor used by the EAF. It has over 579 combat aircraft and 149 armed helicopters as it continues to fly extensively upgraded MiG-21s, F-7 Skybolts, F-4 Phantom, Dassault Mirage Vs, and C-130 Hercules among other planes. The Air Force is undergoing massive modernization. Mikoyan confirmed that talks with Egypt are underway for the possible sale of Mig-29SMT jet-fighters.
Although the Egyptian Navy is the smallest branch of the military, it is large by Middle Eastern standards. It has a total of 20,000 personnel.
The Egyptian Navy is known to be the strongest in Africa and the Middle East in spite of the rapid growing of other countries navies within the region.
Some fleet units are stationed in the Red Sea, but the bulk of the force remains in the Mediterranean. Navy headquarters and the main operational and training base are located at Ras at Tin near Alexandria.
Paramilitary Forces number around 330,000 and consist of the Central Security Forces, the National Guard, the Border Guard Forces and the Coast Guard.
- Central Security Forces: under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. It is the law enforcement authority in the country. The Central Security Forces, number around 250,000 personnel.
- National Guard: under the control of the Ministry of Defense and numbers about 60,000.
- Border Guard Forces: under the control of the Ministry of Defense and numbers about 20,000.
- Coast Guard: is responsible for the onshore protection of public installations near the coast and the patrol of coastal waters to prevent smuggling. With a force of 2,000 personnel, it has an inventory consisting of about thirty large patrol craft (each between twenty and thirty meters in length) and twenty smaller Bertram-class coastal patrol craft built in the United States.