The chief of Israel's air force on Wednesday played down worries voiced by some fellow officials about the possibility of Egypt acquiring advanced Russian-made air defenses.
The Russian news agency TASS said in March Egypt would receive the Antey-2500 missile system, an S-300 variant, and put the value of the contract at more than a billion dollars. Neither Egypt nor Russia has formally confirmed it.
The S-300 would pose a challenge to Israel's air force.
Russia is also in talks to sell the system to Iran, to the open consternation of Israel, which has long threatened to attack its arch-foe's nuclear facilities if it deems diplomatic efforts to deny Tehran the bomb to have failed.
"It (an Iranian S-300) is a very big challenge. It is a strategic problem long before it is an operational problem," air force chief Major-General Amir Eshel told reporters on the sidelines of a conference on Wednesday.