Egypt F-16 Peace Vector
US Defense officials delayed the delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt following the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi. Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters July 24, 2013 the decision to indefinitely delay the delivery of the four warplanes came from President Barack Obama, whose administration was reviewing Washington's longstanding military support to Egypt. “Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward at this time with the delivery of F-16s,” he said. The four F-16's were part of a sale of 20 aircraft to Egypt. Eight had been delivered earlier in 2013.
If the US administration is unable to certify that Egypt has made progress on democracy, as key appropriators in Congress have demanded, the administration’s long-term ability to provide new military items to Egypt would be in jeopardy.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon is a compact, multi-role fighter aircraft. It is highly maneuverable and has proven itself in air-to-air combat and air-to-surface attack. The F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft provides a high-performance weapon system for the United States and allied nations. As of 2008 the Egyptian Air Force operated a fleet of 195 F-16 Block 15/32/40 aircraft. The F-16 Block 50/52 is the latest mass-produced common configuration F-16 aircraft available for procurement and is currently in use by the United States Air Force.
Egypt signed a letter of agreement in June 1980 to acquire 42 Block 15 F-16 fighters under the Peace Vector Foreign Military Sales program. The first aircraft was accepted by the Egyptian Air Force in January 1982. The first six planes arrived in Egypt in March 1982. In the Peace Vector II program, Egypt ordered 40 additional Block 32 F-16s. In October 1986, the first of these aircraft arrived in Egypt. The 242nd Regiment at Beni Suef began operating F-16Cs in October 1986. In June 1990, Egypt signed an order for 47 Block 40 F-16s, powered by the General Electric F110 turbofan engine. The first of these Peace Vector III F-16s was delivered to Egypt in October 1991.
A contract to produce 46 Block 40 F-16C/Ds for the Egyptian Air Force was placed with TUSAS Aerospace Industries (TAI) of Turkey in 1993. Carried out under the Peace Vector IV program, this contract marked the first sale of a foreign-built Fighting Falcon to a third-party nation. The first aircraft was delivered in early 1994, and deliveries continued into 1995. All but one of the earlier F-16s for Egypt had originated on the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company production line. Egypt received 175 Fighting Falcons by the time all the TAI planes were delivered. In May 1996, Egypt signed a letter of agreement for 21 new F-16 Block 40 aircraft. This represented Egypt's fifth F-16 order in 15 years. In June 1999, Egypt ordered 24 F-16 Block 40 aircraft under the Peace Vector VI program. These aircraft were delivered during 2001 and 2002. They were the last Block 40 aircraft produced.
On 25 September 2008 Egypt requested to procure twenty-four (24) F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft to support their national defense mission. The GOE long-term plan was to procure a total of forty-five (45) F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft with twenty-four (24) of those being procured initially and twenty-one (21) additional aircraft being requested in the future when funding permits. Although the aircraft procured would be Block 50 or Block 52 depending upon the engine that the EAF decides to procure, the aircraft will have the software set to comply with Egypt's non-CISMOA status. This limits the full capability of the aircraft until the EAF is authorized any increased capability in accordance with a signed CISMOA. At that point, the software can be reset to provide the appropriate CISMOA-compliant capability.
The procurement of these aircraft was desired by Egypt for three main reasons: A. These aircraft will help modernize the EAF fighter aircraft fleet. B. These new F-16s will potentially replace an estimated 180 non-flyable MiG-21 airframes and an unspecified number of non-flyable F-7 airframes according to sources within the EAF. C. The procurement will replace 24 EAF F-16s that have been destroyed in mishaps since Egypt began operating the F-16.
The EAF originally procured 220 F-16s over the past 26 years, but has lost 25 through attrition. The 24 requested F-16s would backfill 24 of those lost aircraft. The EAF MiG-21 and F-7 fleets require replacement due to their age and diminishing operational readiness. This new aircraft will replace a minimum estimated total of 180 of those aircraft. There will be no change to the existing mission and primary roles of the F-16.
The F-16 Block 50/52 would enable the EAF to defend its people, borders, the Suez Canal and the resource of the Nile River from enemy attack. It will offer US-Egyptian interoperability opportunities that are not available in the MiG-21 or F-7. The procurement would revitalize the EAF fighter fleet so that the EAF may focus on moving forward as a US ally through US-based training, joint exercises and toward joint operations with the US and its other allies. The current state of the EAF fighter fleet causes the Egyptian government to pour precious manpower, money, and resources into the constant struggle of keeping their aging fleet of MiG-21s and F-7s flying. The new procurement would enable the EAF to shift personnel, funding and resources from a rapidly diminishing fleet of obsolescence-prone aircraft to a weapon system with a great capability that will be operational when needed.
The F-16 Block 50/52 is the only logical, cost-effective choice for modernizing the EAF fighter aircraft fleet. The EAF currently operates 195 F-16s and has operated the F-16 with support from the United States for 26 years. The EAF has developed wide-scale in-country F-16-specific maintenance/logistics support and has an in-country F-16 Flying Training Unit where new pilots are trained to fly the F-16. The EAF has a corps of pilots, technicians and engineers who are already familiar with the F-16 at the operational and intermediate levels. The F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft are currently in the U.S. Air Force inventory and long-term sustainability through the U.S. logistics system is a distinct advantage. The EAF has in-country depot capability to repair over 300 different F-16 parts. Most of these parts are compatible with the EAF version F-16 Block 50/52. The EAF has in-country depot-level aircraft modification capability through the F-16 Falcon-UP modification program. This program and capability enables the EAF to significantly increase the service-life of their current F-16 fleet and any subsequent F-16 procurements.
The EAF established in-country partial depot capability to overhaul certain F-16 engine sections and this capability is upgradeable to support the F-16 Block 50/52. Egypt continually upgrades its avionics testing and repair capability to keep pace with the advancing technology in the F-16 aircraft. Egypt uses the US logistics/supply system to complement its in-country F-16 support efforts. Egypt participates in all USAF Technical Coordination Groups so that they receive the latest information available on technical issues and advances related to the F-16.
The procurement of these additional F-16 aircraft was not expected to influence the regional balance of power or cause negative reactions from any of Egypt's neighbors. The EAF wished to procure a unique version of the F-16 Block 50/52 that will be capable of firing the medium-range AIM-7 Sparrow radar-guided missiles that are currently in the EAF inventory. The EAF version of the F-16 Block 50/52 will definitely be able to fire the short-range AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missile and will have a 20mm cannon. The potential exists for the aircraft to be configured with the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) should the US Government decide to release those munitions to Egypt in the future. This new F-16 procurement introduced a limited increase of technology to Egypt, but does not introduce new technology to the region. Several regional allies had recently purchased similar airframes through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. These assets will enhance Egypt's ability to participate in combined regional training exercises. This procurement would not impact Israel's qualitative military edge.
The GOE had demonstrated the intent and ability to protect sensitive, classified military technology over an extended period. Egypt signed a General Security of Information Agreement with the US and, as a customer, has purchased and protected the sensitive technology of other U.S. weapon systems. The EAF has an in-country F-16 pilot training school and they develop their corps of F-16 pilots through that school. The EAF has significant depot-level capability that enables them to repair over 300 F-16 parts, modify F-16 aircraft to extend the service life of the aircraft, and overhaul or repair F-16 engine subassemblies within the country of Egypt. The EAF worked closely with the US Government for complementary logistics support of their F-16 fleet. Although the EAF has an F-16 engine management program that is lacking as compared the USAF engine management program, the EAF is making good progress with the US engine program offices to improve their overall engine management capability. Egypt has met all previous F-16 security and End Use Monitoring (EUM) requirements.
Specialized training on the F-16 Block 50/52 under this new procurement would be performed in-part by an in-country US military Extended Training Services Support (ETSS) team. Each of the previous 4 EAF F-16 procurement increments was supported by an ETSS team of 10 or more personnel. There is currently an ETSS team assigned to one of the EAF F-16 bases as part of the procurement of the most recent increment of EAF F-16s. ETSS teams have been a part of the Egyptian community for 26 years with only positive impact to the country and region. Also, a team of trainers from the prime contractor and subcontractors would likely be sent to Egypt to augment the ETSS until initial training of the EAF is complete. The ETSS would remain and provide the remaining longer-term support. No required training outside of Egypt related to this procurement is anticipated.
U.S. Government civilian personnel and U.S. contractors are permanently assigned to Egypt to support the current EAF F-16 program. Those US positions have been filled for 26 years. There is an anticipated plus-up of US personnel in-country that would be necessary to support the arrival, bed-down and support of the increased number of F-16s resulting from this procurement. A majority of the plus-up personnel will be on temporary duty status and a small minority of the plus-up personnel will likely be required to remain in Egypt permanently. There is no expected negative impact that would result from these additional Americans being in Egypt. Additionally, US Government teams and US contractor teams routinely travel to Egypt to support the various US-provided weapon systems of the Egyptian military including the current F-16 fleet. There is no expected negative impact that would result from the continued presence of these Americans in Egypt.
Egypt planned to procure these 24 F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft and all related training, support and infrastructure improvements as a total package utilizing Foreign Military Financing. The Egyptians will only accept the offer for the procurement if the amortization of financing meets their established budgeted payment schedule. In order for the new aircraft to fire AIM-7 Sparrow as requested, a modification of the avionics package is required. This will affect the long range funding of this program and other large procurement programs currently in work. In addition, this system engineering would have to be reversed if the AIM-120 AMRAAM is purchased in the future. Egypt was not planning to use national funds to pay for any portion of this procurement. The economic impact of the proposed acquisition on the US was expected to infuse $2 billion into the US economy over the acquisition period.
The Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) Egypt has a robust Golden Sentry Program. The Golden Sentry Program representative and Security Assistance Officer (SAO) responsible for the program will coordinate for the review and maintenance of required documentation. All parties will maintain serial number lists of all components within the inventory or transferred and will conduct the mandated inspections as required. This coordination will ensure that historical copies of all EUM inspection results and customer,s physical security and accountability control plans remain on file. The Egyptian military currently has 195 F-16s in country. Egypt has maintained accountability and security of these aircraft without unauthorized loss, theft, or access to date. The GOE has expressed the willingness to meet U.S. guidelines for accountability and security of these new aircraft, and the Office of Military Cooperation will conduct End Use Monitoring of all required components if this request is approved.
This procurement will replace aircraft lost to attrition and will replace fighter aircraft that are beyond their useful life. It would also encourage the demilitarization of older aircraft. This procurement will dissuade Egypt from using national funds to buy fighters from another country. It will also increase the percentage of US-built equipment in the Egyptian inventory. The procurement may be seen as encouragement for Egypt to sign a CISMOA as well.
Although release of the AIM-120 AMRAAM to Egypt was by no means offered, promised or guaranteed to the GOE, MOD or EAF with this procurement, this procurement would create the possibility for Egypt to seek the AIM-120 should they sign a CISMOA in the future. The AIM-7 Sparrow capability currently requested is an option for this purchase; however AIM-120 capability is far superior and could be added with engineering modifications assuming a CISMOA is in place. The US supported the sale to the degree that MOD can afford the new equipment and still fund the follow-on support of all current Egyptian military programs. The US supported this sale if the cost does not jeopardize other important future procurements. The US Government is in a position to build a stronger relationship with the Government of Egypt by enabling the GOE to modernize its fighter aircraft fleet with the US-built and US-supported F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft.
On March 3rd, 2010 the U.S. government awarded an initial $213 million to Lockheed Martin for long-lead tasks for the production of 20 new Advanced Block 52 F-16 aircraft for Egypt. This marked the 53rd follow-on buy of F-16s by 14 repeat customers. The aircraft delivered to Egypt join the fleet of more than 4,400 F-16s representing 25 nations. The new aircraft order includes 16 F-16Cs and 4 F-16Ds, and will supplement the Egyptian Air Force's (EAF) existing fleet of F-16s and contribute to the modernization of the EAF. The final Egyptian F-16 under this contract will be delivered in 2013. Egypt was the first Arab country to purchaseF-16s through a Foreign Military Sales program called Peace Vector. The Egyptian Air Force received a total of 42 F-16s in its first order in 1980 and since then had purchased five more lots of aircraft, for a total of 240 F-16 Fighting Falcons.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|