CAIRO: The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, a branch of the US Department of Defense, notified the US Congress Friday of potential arms sales with Egypt and Israel possibly worth a combined $1.5 billion.
According to the Agency’s official website, Egypt has requested kits for 125 M1A1 Abrams tanks – which Egypt co-produces – at a total cost of $847 million. The kits consist of weapons and armor upgrades (including enhancements of machine gun capabilities) and thermal viewers.
The US-Egypt co-production program in Abrams tanks was initiated in 1988. If the sale goes through, it would boost the program’s output from 880 to 1005 tanks, with the prime contractor being General Dynamics Corp.
To implement the sale if it goes through, 40 US contractors will be assigned to Egypt for up to two years. There are already six US government representatives in Egypt managing the M1A1 and M88A2 Hercules programs. They will also be involved in fielding and production aspects of the program.
As for Israel, the sale consists of 30 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 500 AIM-9M Sidewinder air to air missiles, and 200 AMRAAM medium range air to air missiles, produced by Raytheon Co, in a deal potentially worth $334 million.
Additionally, the DSCA informed Congress that a $308 million possible sale was in the works for supplying Israel with 90 million gallons of JP-8 aviation fuel and 42 million gallons of diesel fuel for their ground forces.
By law, Congress must be notified of potential arms sales before it occurs. This does not mean that the sales have already been sanctioned. Congress has 30 days to repeal any of the arms deals.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced July 30 new military aid increases to Israel, Egypt and other Arab allies to “counter the negative influences of Iran and Syria as well as groups such as Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda.
In August, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns signed a memorandum of understanding on a new decade-long military aid package with Israel worth $30 billion.
Israel receives $2.4 billion annually in military aid from the US, so the new package delivers an increase of some $600 million a year.
Packages to Arab countries include a $13 billion deal with Egypt, a $20 billion pact with Saudi Arabia and a further $20 billion package for other Gulf states.
The DSCA is a department within the Pentagon that sells arms on a no-profit, no-loss basis to bolster US allies. It also provides technical assistance and training.