The US and Egypt are preparing to resume co-production
of M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks, following a hiatus in deliveries as a result of the country's 2013 coup. The production of Abrams at the Egyptian Tank Plant near Cairo will partially fulfil orders from a 2011 contract for 125 M1A1s, with the country already possessing over a thousand of the tanks. Under the terms of a new contract, General Dynamics Land Systems will deliver kits for the Egyptian plant to assemble, as well as weapon and propulsion systems. Relations between Washington and Cairo are becoming increasingly close, following President Obama's decision in March
to resume military aid to the country, including the tank kits
, despite widespread allegations of human rights abuses. The Egyptian Air Force recently received the last four of twelve F-16s from the US
In the modern era, Egypt was a Soviet client for a long time, and its arsenals still contain their share of Soviet weaponry. Military assistance relations took a sharp turn for the worse in the early 1970s, and the country has used the US military aid program that accompanied the 1979 Camp David Accords to replace much of that equipment with American items.
One of the most prominent replacements has occurred in Egypt’s fleet of main battle tanks. Some T-55 tanks survive as greatly-upgraded “Ramses II” machines, and a handful of T-80s were bought in the late 1990s, but American M60A3 Patton and M1 Abrams tanks now make up the vast majority of Egypt’s fleet. The country began a co-production program for M1 Abrams tanks in 1988, which involves kit assembly in Egypt but outsources sensitive functions like adding the M1’s special armor. By 2007, this program had produced 880 tanks, a total that will rise to 1,130 M1 tanks as the latest contracts are fulfilled. This gives Egypt one of the globe’s largest M1 fleets.
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