Egypt orders 125 additional M1A1 Abrams kits


General Dynamics has been awarded a US$395 million contract involving 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits in the eleventh incremental increase of the Egyptian co-production programme, something that will bring the Egyptian Abrams fleet to more than a thousand.

General Dynamics announced the contract, awarded by the US TACOM Lifecycle Management Command, on Friday. In July it was announced that Egypt would soon purchase 125 Abrams tank kits as part of a US$1.3 billion foreign military sale.

The contract awarded to General Dynamics does not seem to include items made by other firms and further contracts may be forthcoming. Other contractors include Honeywell (engine) and Allison (transmission).

General Dynamics said that work on the components will be performed in Anniston, Ala.; Tallahassee, Fla.; Sterling Heights, Mich.; Lima, Ohio; and Scranton, Penn., by existing General Dynamics employees. Deliveries will begin in July 2013 and continue to January 2016.

Egypt has a large tank force and operates one of the world’s largest M1 fleets. According to the IISS’s 2011 The Military Balance, Egypt has more than 3 700 main battle tanks, including 973 M1A1s, 850 M60A3s, 300 M60A1s and 260 Ramses II (upgraded T-54/55s). In addition, the Egyptian Army has a further 500 T-62s and 840 T-54/55s in storage.

Co-production of the M1 began in 1988 when Egypt set up Tank Assembly Plant 200 in Helwan. Co-production involves kit assembly in Egypt and the production of sensitive items such as armour in the United States. Around 60% of Egypt’s Abrams have been produced in the United States and the rest inside the north African nation.

Since 1992, General Dynamics has provided components for kits used in the co-production program. The parts are shipped to a production facility near Cairo, Egypt, where the tanks are manufactured for the Egyptian Land Forces.

It is not clear how Egypt will pay for the 125 new tanks – in the past it has used some of its Foreign Military Assistance money from the United States to do so. Egypt has received over US$36 billion in US military aid since in 1979 when it made peace with Israel, and currently receives US$1.3 billion each year.