M1 Abrams tank production resumes in Egypt


Egypt will formally resume production of M1 Abrams main battle tanks after reaching an agreement with General Dynamics and the United States government.

According to Egyptian publication Aswat Masriya, the agreement was reached on Thursday during a meeting between Egypt’s Minister of State for Military Production Mohamed al-Assar, US ambassador Robert Stephen Beecroft and Donald Schenk, vice chairman of General Dynamics.

Egypt had assembled the tanks until its military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power in July 2013, prompting the United States to freeze military aid to Egypt. The M1s are manufactured at the Egyptian Tank Plant in Helwan, south of Cairo.

In 2011 a $395 million deal was signed with General Dynamics Land Systems to supply 125 Abrams tank kits to the Egyptian Army, expanding its Abrams fleet to 1 130. Deliveries began in July 2013 but were suspended almost immediately.

In March this year the United States announced it was lifting the hold on the supply of military equipment to Egypt, with the White House directing the release of 12 F-16 aircraft, 20 Boeing Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits. On 31 July five M1A1 turrets were delivered to Cairo East Air Base. Another 14 turrets were due in August.

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.

It received eight of the 12 F-16s on 30 and 31 July.