Informer: Jets, tanks sold to Egypt via longtime program

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

What is the status of us giving tanks and planes to Egypt? Are they still fixing to ship them, or have we backed out of it

yet?

Delivery of the planes, F-16 fighter

jets, began in January, and shipment of tank components is supposed to

begin this month.

Both procurements are being paid for with money provided via the

U.S. Foreign Military Financing program, through which Egypt

has received $1.3 billion a year for more than two decades.

But that aid arrangement could change

depending on what happens in Egypt, whose streets have been clogged by

protesters demanding

that President Mohammed Morsi step down. The Obama administration

said Tuesday that a coup — or even the appearance of one

— could jeopardize military funding.

Procurement procedure

Egypt told U.S. officials in 2009 that it wanted to buy two dozen F-16 jets and associated equipment, and the Pentagon’s Defense

Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the sales request that October.

“Congress did not object to the sale after the notification, which was before the change in Egypt’s government, and in 2010

Lockheed Martin and Egypt reached an agreement for the purchase of 20 F-16C/Ds valued at an estimated $2.5 billion,” reads

a Congressional Research Service report that was released last week.

According to the report, the United States since 1980 has sent more than 220 F-16s to Egypt — making the Middle Eastern nation

“the fourth largest operator of the F-16 after the United States, Israel, and Turkey.”

Egypt asked to buy 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks in 2011. As with the F-16s, the DSCA notified Congress, which raised no objections, the CRS report says. The Egyptian military will

receive the vehicles through a co-production agreement that its government has had with the United States since 1988, and

army officials plan to eventually have 1,200 tanks.

“Since 1992, General Dynamics has

provided components for kits used in the co-production program. The

parts are shipped to

a production facility near Cairo, Egypt, where the tanks are

manufactured for the Egyptian Land Forces,” reads the CRS report.

“This latest increment will increase

the number of Egyptian co-production-built tanks to 1,130. Work on the

components is

to be performed in Anniston, Ala.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Sterling

Heights, Mich.; Lima, Ohio; and Scranton, Penn., by existing

General Dynamics employees.

“Deliveries are to begin in July 2013 and continue to January 2016.”

According to the report, this will be

the 11th batch of Abrams tanks that Egypt has received through the

co-production arrangement.

A State Department background sheet

says Egypt has over the years used the Foreign Military Financing

program to acquire U.S.

F-4 jets; M-60 tanks (like the one near the Lake Charles Civic

Center); aerial surveillance aircraft; Apache attack helicopters;

armored personnel carriers; and anti-aircraft missile batteries.

Online: www.dsca.mil; www.fas.org/sgp/crs.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com