Just heard the administration is purchasing 20 F-16 fighters to send to Egypt. Does anyone here (who is in their right mind) think this is a good idea? How about this when we're hurdling toward the fiscal cliff? What's next, nukes for the Muslim Brotherhood?
These F-16's are not high tech, especially compared to the Israeli ones. This Lockheed deal has been coming since 2009 and the Texas plant that makes them has been threatening to close out the F-16 for almost 10 years now. From Defense Industry Daily:
Egyptian Air Force F-16D
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The Egyptian government wants to buy another 24 F-16C/D Block 50/52 aircraft, associated parts, weapons, and equipment to modernize its air force. The October 2009 request, made through the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) to Congress, could be worth as much as $3.2 billion to Lockheed Martin and the other contractors involved. The formal request came a few months after the Obama administration conveyed its support for Egypt’s long-standing request to buy the Block 50/52 aircraft.
The Egyptian Air Force is the 4th largest F-16 operator in the world, mustering about 195 F-16s of 220 ordered. Their overall fighter fleet is a mix of high-end F-16s and Mirage 2000s, low-end Chinese F-7s (MiG-21 copy) bought from the Chinese, a few F-4 Phantom II jets, and upgraded but very aged Soviet MiG-21s and French Mirage 5s.
•Contracts & Key Events [updated]
F-16 fires AIM-7
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Egypt receives about $1.3 billion annually in military aid financing, per the terms of the 1976 Camp David Accords with Israel. The total value of this sale, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $3.2 Billion – but the October 2009 DSCA request was only the first step toward a contract, and not a contract in and of itself. If Congress doesn’t block the sale within 30 days, and they did not, then the way is open for a negotiated contract and order. Long-lead buys began in March 2010, but the main contract actually took until December 2012
Note that Egypt’s new F-16C/Ds may be Block 52 aircraft, but they differ in one important respect from their counterparts in places like Singapore and Israel. Instead of relying on the modern, active-homing AIM-120 AMRAAM as their medium range air to air missile, Egypt’s F-16s depend on the older AIM-7P Sparrow. The Sparrow uses semi-active radar homing, which means the launching fighter needs to maintain a continuous illumination lock on the target aircraft. In contrast, an Israeli F-16i equipped with AMRAAM missiles can achieve lock, launch, then break lock and evade while the missile guides itself to the target.
That leaves Egyptian jets at a notable disadvantage against Israel, but in a confrontation with the air forces of neighbors like Libya or Sudan, Egypt’s combination of better fighters and supporting E-2 AWACS planes would make even Sparrow-armed F-16s extremely dangerous.
Contracts & Key Events
2011 – 2012
Main F-16 contract. Internal turmoil.
2011: EAF F-16C over
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Dec 17/12: 20 F-16s. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $563 million contract modification for 20 F-16 Block 52s: 16 F-16Cs and 4 F-16Ds. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14. The AFLCMC/WWMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract on behalf of their Foreign Military Sales client. The USAF has confirmed to us that the customer is Egypt (FA8615-10-C-6051, PZ0022).
This contract builds on the $213 million purchase of long-lead items announced on March 2/10, for an announced total of $786 million. The first 4 jets are supposedly set for delivery on Jan 22/13. See also Fox Business News.
This request is 2 years old, so why now?
Trying to keep the new Egyptian government from moving closer to Iran. Some pay back for Egypt playing nice in the recent Israel/Gaza flair up. Egypt keeping the pressure on Syria - again another move to counter Iran.
This is huge since we've not sold this plane to many other countries and I'm sure Israel will get the F 35 when it's available.
We'll have to see how the new Egyptian government behaves, but this was quite the gift for a first date.
It is a very dangerous situation and not appropriate at this time. I can't think of one reason Egypt needs a fighter jet or a tank except for the Arab macho culture. They have no state enemies!
It also sends the wrong message to the Egyptian youth and other secular & leftist that we will not support them. This is compounded by that fact they know Morsi went to college and had kids in the USA. We simply don't want to look like we are in cahoots with him.
Also, the country is in economic meltdown, so why be seen as giving aid to the military instead of food aid? I know the military is a separate institution from the government but still doesn’t make sense to deliver advanced weapons into a volatile situation.