Egypt to Spend up to $3.2B Adding to F-16C/D FleetDec 18, 2012 18:41 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
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.
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.
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.
Main contract: 20 F-16s
Dec 15-17/12: Egypt’s proposed constitution is ahead by a small margin after votes are counted in half the country, though polling oversight has been sketchy. The 57/42 split is almost certain to widen, however, after votes come in from the other half of the country. That was the pattern in earlier elections, where the more rural areas not only voted for the Muslim Brotherhood, but voted for extreme Salafist parties. Foreign Policy has an interesting look at the referendum data. Meanwhile, Talaat Ibrahim has resigned as Egypt’s top prosecutor in the face of strong opposition within the judicial system, less than a month after Morsi appointed him to the post as part of his November decrees. Foreign Policy | Al Bawaba | AP via Washington Post | Deutsche Welle | Canada’s National Post | OnIslam | Britain’s The Telegraph. Mideast expert Barry Rubin provides the least optimistic view.
Dec 9-10/12: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi annuls the decree expanding his powers, but a referendum on his controversial draft constitution will still go ahead as planned on Dec 15/12. The backpeddaling comes in the wake of sustained public protests that have included the burning of buildings. The Egyptian military finally issued a public statement that they would protect the people from violence, and urged both sides to settle matters through negotiation. Implicit: “or else”. BBC | Sky News.
Nov 22/12: Pharaoh? Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, of the Islamic Brotherhood, issues a series of decrees giving him nearly unlimited powers to enact laws and decrees without recourse or appeal, and removing Egypt’s judiciary from any role in the Islamist proposals for a new constitution based on Shariah Law. The decrees kick off huge demonstrations of 200,000+ people in Tahrir Square, and Egypt’s judges and prosecutors go on strike. Morsi’s response is to call a Dec 15/12 referendum on the new constitution, amid large, organized counter-protests by his supporters. AP | France24 | Russia Today | Turkish Weekly | UAE’s The National | UK’s Sky News.
Aug 14/12: The AICI/ARCHIRODON joint venture in Arlington, VA wins a $66.6 million firm-fixed-price contract “for the design and construction of facility upgrades to support the procurement of F-16 fighter aircraft for the Egyptian Air Force.”
Work will be performed in Egypt, with an estimated completion date of Aug 8/14. There were 23 bids solicited, with 3 bids received by the US Army Corps of Engineers in Winchester, VA (W912ER-12-C-0033).
Aug 13/12: General Disapproval. Newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, of the Islamic Brotherhood, fires Egyptian Chief of Staff Gen. Sami Hafez Enan and Egyptian Defence Minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, and other generals. Tantawi had held that post for over 2 decades under Mubarak. His new defense minister is the head of military intelligence, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. Gen. Mohamed al-Assar was named an assistant defense minister.
The move is generally seen as a substantial weakening of the Army, who had given themselves broad legislative and executive powers after the Islamic Brotherhood was elected. Mr Morsi also issued a decree nullfying that move. So, the showdown begins. Daily Mail | NY Times | LA Times.
Dec 7/11: Contrack International, Inc. in McLean, VA wins a $17.6 million firm-fixed-price contract, to design and build facility upgrades at Cairo West Air Base, Egypt to “support the procurement of F-16 fighter aircraft…”
A total of 19 bids were solicited, with 8 bids received; Work is expected run until Nov 22/12 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Winchester, VA manages the FMS contract, on behalf of their Egyptian client (W912ER-12-C-0007).
Dec 4-6/11: Election Earthquake. Egypt issues results for the 1st round of assigned seats in its Parliamentary elections following Mubarak’s ouster, which focus on the area east of the Nile, and key urban areas like Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, etc. The Muslim Brotherhood’s FJP wins 36.6% of the vote, and 40/102 available seats. The Salafist Al-Nour party, advocating policies similar to Afghanistan’s Taliban, wins 24.4% of the vote, and 26/102 available seats. Both Islamist parties are expected to do even better in Rounds 2 & 3, which cover less urban and more conservative areas; Al-Nour even believes they can pull ahead of the FJP there.
The larger questions of what this means remain open, but memories of Iran’s American equipment after the shah’s fall may still linger in some Washington circles. Wikipedia: results | Agence France Presse | Deutsche Welle | US CFR op-ed.
Oct 6/11: Sniper pods. Lockheed Martin announces that Egypt has become the 13th international customer for their AN/AAQ-33 Sniper, per the Oct 9/09 DSCA request that included up to 12 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods.
Egyptian F-16s have flown with LANTIRN twin pods since the early 1990s, which are more than a generation behind Sniper ATP.
March 4/11: A Reuters report discussing WikiLeaks revelations and what they reveal about American diplomacy and arms sales has this alarming passage:
“Cables from Washington describe U.S. officials’ alarm upon finding sensitive military technologies and weapons were passed into dangerous hands.
But none of those cables describe any concrete punishments for the offending countries. They also don’t suggest any specific changes to the way the violators should be treated in the future.
In 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote to U.S. embassy officials in Cairo describing the State Department’s suspicions that Egypt had violated its “end-user agreements” with the U.S. six different times over the prior three years. In one instance, Egyptian defense officials allegedly let a Chinese military delegation examine U.S.-made F-16s and related technical facilities.”
Feb 18/11: Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives a $19.8 million contract modification for a Foreign Military Sales program which will provide the government of Egypt with “peculiar support equipment and country standard technical orders.” $7.1 million has been obligated by the ASC/WWMK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8615-10-6051 PO0005).
The recent fall of Egypt’s government leaves Lockheed Martin and the USAF dealing with a military interim government.
2009 – 2010
Recon pods, ACES ECM, engines.
Oct 8/10: DB-110 Recon pods. Goodrich Surveillance & Reconnaissance Systems in Chelmsford, MA receives a $1.8 million contract to buy and deploy one DB110 reconnaissance pod system for use on the 20 F-16 C/D Block 52s being purchased by the Egyptian Air Force, under the Peace Vector VII program. The ASC/WINK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH manages the contract (FA8620-11-C-3003).
The DSCA request was a competition between Lockheed Martin’s AARS and Goodrich’s DB-110 for up to 4 pods, so further orders could be forthcoming. Egypt is the 8th country to pick Goodrich’s DB-110 system; indeed, Goodrich VP ISR Systems Andrew Chrostowski contends in Goodrich’s release: “Since the DB-110 was selected by Poland’s Ministry of National Defense in 2003, all F-16 FMS (Foreign Military Sale) customers have selected the DB-110 as their reconnaissance system.”
ACES is Raytheon’s latest advanced electronic countermeasures system, comprising a radar warning receiver, jammer and chaff-flare dispenser. Raytheon will provide Lockheed Martin with ACES systems for Egypt’s new “Peace Vector VII” F-16s, as well as related spares and maintenance support.
March 2/10: F-16 Long-Lead. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $213 million contract to provide the government of Egypt with 20 F-16C/D Block 52 multi-role fighter aircraft; support equipment; technical orders and integrated logistics support. At this time, $106 Million has been committed by the 312th AESG/SYK at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8615-10-6051).
Lockheed Martin confirms that this order is for long lead-time items, components bought far in advance so that they’ll be ready when needed on the manufacturing floor. Lockheed Martin release.
Feb 28/10: WikiLeaks. In a US diplomatic cable which urges faster and more efficient processes to respond to Egyptian requests under military technology transfer [TPT = Third Party Transfer] and use agreements, the embassy notes an interesting use for Egyptian F-16s:
“5. (C) Embassy Cairo also would like to reinforce the GOE’s good behavior with regards to submitting the requests by providing timely answers, even if the request is disapproved. In our view this would reinforce the emphasis we have been placing on the need for the GOE to shoulder its end use monitoring responsibilities. The following TPT requests remaining pending: 105MM Ammunition transfer to Saudi Arabia; EG Hawk Missile technical support to Turkey; EG F-16 back seat training ride for Italian AF personnel; EG request to allow Turkey to refurbish F-4 aircraft; and EG request to sell M1A1 tanks to Iraq. We appreciate PM’s consideration of the blanket approval request and look forward to working with PM to effectively streamline the TPT request process. “
The Italians have actually been flying their own rented F-16s as a temporary stopgap, until enough of their new Eurofighters arrive.
Feb 16/10: WikiLeaks. A diplomatic cable from the US post in Ankara, Turkey raises an interesting issue, which may be relevant to Egypt’s new and upgraded F-16s:
“20. (C) [DID: Turkish Minister of National Defense Mehmet Vecdi] Gonul said Turkey was pleased to be part of the joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program… In conclusion, Gonul raised Turkey’s F-16 modernization program and expressed concern that new upgrades precluded Turkish access to computer systems and software modification previously allowed. Turkish Under Secretary for Industry Bayar told SecDef he would pursue this issue in greater detail with Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Ash Carter.”
Feb 1/10: F100 engines. Pratt & Whitney announces that the Egyptian Air Force has selected its F100-PW-229 EEP (Engine Enhancement Package) engines, to power its next 24 F-16s, making them Block 52 aircraft. This decision recovers that market for Pratt & Whitney, creates a more favorable environment for F100 engine upgrades or refits among the EAF’s initial F-16 fleet, and ensures that issues with either F-16 engine type can only ground about half of Egypt’s fleet.
The EAF’s first 82 F-16s were F-16 A/B Block 15s and F-16 C/D Block 32s. All used earlier models of Pratt & Whitney’s F100 engine engines, which were reportedly retained in the 1996 upgrade program that brought the “Peace Vector I-II” F-16s to Block 40/42 equivalency. The Peace Vector III-VI deals from 1991-2001, however, delivered 138 F-16 C/D Block 40 fighters with GE’s higher thrust F110 engine. Those F110s are receiving upgrades through a separate Service Life Extension Plan.
Pratt & Whitney’s new F100-PW-229 EEP leverages technology developed for the F-22A Raptor’s F119, and the F-35 Lightning II‘s F135 engine. Development was funded through the USAF, who wanted to meet engine targets for time on wing and cost of ownership, and improve safety and readiness. The F100-PW-229 EEP requires engine depot inspection every 10 years, instead of every 7. The manufacturer also claims up to a 30% cost reduction over the life the engine, and a 25% lower probability of in-flight shutdowns. Upgrades to existing F100-PW-229 engines can happen during normal scheduled maintenance visits, and Pratt & Whitney says that the USAF plans to do that for its fleet.
Also on Feb 1/10, Pratt & Whitney announces that it has begun delivering the first 25 production F100-PW-229-EEP engines to customers, supporting F-16 Block 52 deliveries to Pakistan, and the 2nd batch of F-15Ks for South Korea (the first batch used GE’s F110).
Oct 9/09: Egypt’s official DSCA request [PDF] involves up to 24 of Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 50/52 Aircraft, with conformal fuel tanks to extend range. Their exact block number would be determined by Egypt’s engine choice. They chose Pratt & Whitney’s F100-PW-229, and can order up to 30 engines. Pratt & Whitney beat GE’s F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines (IPE), and so these EAF F-16s will be Block 52 fighters. Built-in equipment will include:
- 30 Northrop Grumman APG-68v9s, the most advanced mechanically-scanned array radars for the F-16, and standard for these models. The request is for 24 installed radars, and 6 spares;
- 28 of General Dynamics’ M61 20mm Vulcan Cannons; 24 as aircraft equipment, plus 4 spares.
- 60 LAU-129/A Common Rail Launchers; they can be fitted to the outer wingtips, and can carry AIM-9 Sidewinder or AIM-120 AMRAAM radar-guided missiles;
- 28 of BAE’s AN/APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) Systems without Mode IV;
- 28 defensive systems sets. Raytheon’s Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES, ended up winning. They beat ITT’s AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Systems (AIDEWS), which includes the AN/ALQ-187 Electronic Warfare System and the AN/ALR-93 Radar Warning Receiver. ACES win was a bit of a departure – within CENTCOM’s area of responsibility, AIDEWS had been picked for Turkish, Omani, and Pakistani F-16s.
- 28 BAE Systems or Symetrics AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems;
- 28 AN/ARC-238 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGAR) radios without HAVE QUICK I/II;
- 28 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), with Standard Positioning Service commercial code only (as opposed to military m-code used by American F-16s);
Egypt is also asking to buy:
- 4 reconnaissance systems: Goodrich’s DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods won, beating Lockheed Martin F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (AARS).
- 12 surveillance and targeting pods: either Lockheed Martin’s AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER ATP, or Northrop Grumman’s AN/AAQ-28 LITENING. Despite Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, the LITENING’s Israeli origins made Lockheed’s Sniper an almost certain winner. It won, as expected.
Accompanying services may include base construction services [emphasis DID's], support equipment, software development/integration, tanker support, ferry services, Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD), repair and return, modification kits, spares and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and related U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support.
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX. Other involved firms may include:
- Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX
- Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training, and Support in Fort Worth, TX
- BAE Advanced Systems in Greenland, New York
- Boeing Corporation in Seattle, Washington
- Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in St Louis, MO; Long Beach, CA; and San Diego, CA
- Raytheon Company in Lexington, MA and Goleta, CA
- Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, Texas
- Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD
- United Technologies subsidiary Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, CT
- General Electric Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, OH
- Goodrich ISR Systems in Danbury, CT
- L3 Communications in Arlington, TX
- ITT Defense Electronics and Services in McLean, Virginia
- Symetrics Industries in Melbourne, FL
These F-16s could replace older F-16A/B Block 15 machines, but competing demands make that unlikely. Egypt’s F-4 Phantom II fleet suffers from low readiness levels, and the EAF’s aged Mirage 5s and Soviet-era MiG-21s are also strong candidates for replacement. The Mirage 5s own the air base at Birma/Tanta, SE of Alexandria; while MiG-21 bases include nearby Gabel al-Basur AB, and Assouan AB (Aswan) near the famous dam and Egypt’s southern border with Sudan. Additional military construction would likely be required in order to house F-16s at any of these bases, and construction is one of the items on the DSCA request list.
Egyptian sales often involve industrial offsets and local construction, but there are no known offset agreements in connection with this proposed sale. Some previous EAF F-16C/D aircraft sales have been manufactured in Turkey, under TAI’s partnership with Lockheed Martin.
Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Egypt involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, program management, and training over a period of 15 years.
F-16 request: 24 Block 50/52s plus add-ons
Sept 25/09: WikiLeaks. A US diplomatic cable from the embassy in Cairo recommends a sale of new F-16s. Key excerpts:
“REF A is the GOE request to procure twenty-four (24) F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft to support their national defense mission. The GOE long-term plan is to procure a total of forty-five (45) F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft with twenty-four (24) of those being procured at this time and twenty-one (21) additional aircraft being requested in the future when funding permits. Although the aircraft procured will 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 [DID: Communications & Information Security Memorandum Of Agreement]… 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.”
With respect to the plane’s capabilities:
“…The EAF wishes 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 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.”
As fr the local support infrastructure:
“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 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 has 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.”
Sept 16/09: WikiLeaks. A US diplomatic cable from the embassy in Cairo discusses a proposed purchase of night vision equipment for Egypt’s F-16s, including the proposed 24 new machines:
“REF A is the GOE request for pricing and availability of 161 Night Vision Goggles (NVG) sets and the modification of 137 F-16 aircraft to an NVG compatible configuration to support their national defense mission… A site survey conducted by the USG will be required to determine the appropriate type of NVGs to support the EAF mission. 24 of the requested 161 sets will provision the 24 new F-16 aircraft that the EAF currently has requested. The remaining 137 sets will provision 29 Block 15 F-16s, 29 Block 32 F-16s and 79 Block 40 F-16s.”
Aug 11/09: WikiLeaks – Chinese looking at EAF F-16s?. A cable from the US embassy in Cairo discusses end-use agreement violations by Egypt, including the incident involving the Chinese, and Egypt’s follow-up. The issues delayed this F-16 sale, but did not stop it:
“PDAS [Tom] Countryman emphasized the importance of a clear and transparent picture of Egypt’s end-use performance, including the measures being taken to prevent further violations. He noted that Egypt had more potential Section 3 violations than any other country in the world over the last several years. Cases involving the Chinese, he continued, were of particular concern (ref A)… The case involving the visit of a Chinese military official to an F-16 base (ref D), however, did raise genuine concerns about the transfer of US technology. He noted that U.S. concerns over the visit had already delayed Egypt’s request to purchase F-16 aircraft. PDAS Countryman stressed the importance of receiving a consistent story of what happened during the Chinese official’s visit
PDAS Countryman… suggested [that Egypt's] MOD agree in writing to the following actions: 1) Conduct an internal analysis of the eight potential violations to be shared with the OMC, 2) Commit to an end-use training plan, and 3) Identify one senior official as a point of contact for end-use issues… 11. (C) Subsequent to the meeting, [Egyptian Assistant Minister of Defense Mohammed] al-Assar reviewed the proposed text, but declined to sign the document… He declined to conduct an internal analysis on the end-use violations.”
March 31/09: In a “scenesetter” cable to Gen. Schwartz, the US embassy in Cairo lays out key issues and opportunities within the American-Egyptian strategic partnership. This excerpt has to do with the F-16s:
“Both [Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Sami] Anan and [Air Marshal] Reda will express concern over releasability issues and frustration with Egypt’s inability to procure restricted weapons systems. Some systems are not releasable because of Egyptian refusal to sign the necessary agreement (CISMOA) providing end-use assurances and ensuring proper protection of certain U.S. origin technology. Releasability is of special concern to the EAF as they prepare to purchase 24 F-16 aircraft that will require a costly retrofit with less-advanced weapons systems. Since 2006, the Department of State has notified Congress of six potential end-use violations by the Egyptian military. We are currently investigating two additional cases, one involving the visit of a Chinese military official to an F-16 facility on an Egyptian Air Force base. Other systems are either not releasable to any country or denied for political reasons, mainly due to concerns regarding Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME). We should stress that decisions to release advanced weapons system are made on a country-by-country basis, but signing a CISMOA and expanding cooperation on current regional threats would be welcomed steps to our dialogue on releasability.”
- F-16.NET – Egypt
- Gadaliyya – Egypt Elections Watch
- Wikipedia – Egyptian Parliamentary Election, 2011-2012. A Presidential election followed.
- New English Review (November 2012) – No Blinders about Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood: An Interview with Raymond Stock