The Egyptian Air Force has received the final four of 12 F-16 Fighting Falcon jets from the United States, with the aircraft arriving in Egypt on 29 October.
The United States Embassy in Cairo said that the aircraft were received at Cairo West Air Force Base during a ceremony attended by Ambassador Stephen Beecroft, Senior Defence Official Major General Charles Hooper, Air Marshal Younes al-Masri and other senior Egyptian military officials.
The aircraft had made a refuelling stop at Lajes Air Base in the Azores on October 27, supported by a US Air Force KC-10A tanker. The delivery from the US was completed in 14 flying hours.
Ambassador Beecroft called the delivery “another step forward in U.S.-Egyptian cooperation on fighting terror, bringing stability to the region, and strengthening our historic relationship.”
In addition to the F-16 Block 52 aircraft, the United States will provide follow-on maintenance and training for Egyptian Air Force pilots and ground crews. The aircraft, which were delivered under the “Peace Vector” programme, which has provided F-16 fighter jets to Egypt for the last 30 years, will be integrated immediately into the Egyptian Air Force fleet, the US Embassy said.
Major General Hooper described the advanced F-16 fighter jet as a “vital multi-role aircraft that will provide the Egyptian people greater security and a powerful asset in the fight against terrorism.” Attending the arrival ceremony, Major General Hooper added, “I would like to congratulate the Egyptian military and people on their newest military assets and to celebrate the successful strategic cooperation between our governments. I take great pride in the enduring relationship with the Egyptian Armed Forces.”
The United States froze the delivery of military hardware to Egypt in 2013 after former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood was overthrown by the military after mass protests against his rule. In late March, US President Barack Obama lifted a hold on a supply of arms to Cairo, authorizing deliveries of US weapons valued at more than $1.3 billion, including 12 Lockheed Martin F-16s, 20 Boeing Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits made by General Dynamics.
The eight F-16s were delivered to Egypt on July 30 and 31.
In November last year Egypt received ten AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the United States. The Egyptian Air Force ordered 12 Apaches in 2009 to augment the 35 that have been in service since 2003.