The Obama administration is proceeding with the next phase of its plan to modernize the Egyptian Air Force, coinciding with the White House claim that continued aid to Egypt is in the national interests of the United States.
That modernization will start with new facilities and upgraded infrastructure in support of Egypt’s F-16 fighter jet program, according to procurement documents that Patriot Update located through routine database research.
Despite the ongoing chaos resulting from the military coup that overthrew Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on July 3 issued a call to industry known as a Sources Sought notice, requesting U.S. and U.S.-Egyptian joint-venture construction firms to send expressions of interest in the Cairo West Air Base project.
The F-16 Squadron Upgrades, Peace Vector VII, Package C initiative involves the design and construction of “facility upgrades, new facilities and infrastructure improvements to support the procurement of F-16 C/D Fighter Aircraft,” the document says.
The endeavor also will “accommodate base expansion and upgrades for enhancing operability, safety, security, maintenance and training requirements for Egyptian Air Force readiness and operational reliability.”
Specific upgrades include a new missile storage facility and a hardened aircraft shelter.
The document emphasized that the Army it is conducting a market survey of construction-service providers and is not yet soliciting proposals. It did not disclose an estimated cost of this project segment.
While it is no secret that the administration—with congressional knowledge—intends to sell dozens of F-16s to Egypt, the new procurement comes at a time when the fabric of Egyptian government and society continues unraveling.
In 2009 the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of its intention to sell F-16 and related equipment and services worth upwards of $3.2 billion.
DSCA said at the time that the sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the U.S. “by enhancing the capability of Egypt, a major non-NATO ally.
“Delivery of this weapon system will greatly enhance Egypt’s interoperability with the U.S., making it a more valuable partner in an important area of the world, as well as supporting Egypt’s legitimate need for its own self-defense,” it continued, adding that the transaction “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”
The U.S. Air Force on March 2, 2010, initially awarded a $213 million contract to Lockheed Martin to buy 20 F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft for Egypt.
In April the U.S. delivered four more F-16s to Egypt, despite claims by some that it betrays the U.S. relationship with Israel, according to the Washington Times.
F-16 Squadron Upgrades, Peace Vector VII, Package C initiative (Solicitation #W912ER-13-R-0071)
Peace Vector VII (Egypt) 20 F-16C/D Block 52 Aircraft Production (Contract award #FA861510C6051)