The modern army was established during the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha (1805–1849), who is considered to be the “founder of modern Egypt”. Its most significant engagements in the 20th century were in Egypt’s five wars with the State of Israel (in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1967–1970, and 1973), one of which, the Suez Crisis of 1956, also saw it do combat with the armies of Britain, and France. The Egyptian army was also engaged heavily in the protracted North Yemen Civil War, and the brief Libyan-Egyptian War in July 1977. Its last major engagement was Operation Desert Storm, the liberation of Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in 1991, in which the Egyptian army constituted the second-largest contingent of the allied forces.
As of 2014, the army has an estimated strength of 310,000 soldiers, of which, approximately 90,000–120,000 are professionals with the rest being conscripts.
Egypt’s varied army weapons inventory complicates logistical support for the army. National policy since the 1970s has included the creation of a domestic arms industry (including the Arab Organization for Industrialization) capable of indigenous maintenance and upgrades to existing equipment, with the ultimate aim of Egyptian production of major ground systems. This target was finally met with the commencement of M-1 Abrams production in 1992. (Egypt had received permission to build an M-1 factory in 1984.) Prior to this, large acquisitions had included nearly 700 M-60A1 main battle tanks from the US from March 1990, as well as nearly 500 Hellfire anti-tank guided missiles.
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