United States delivers M1A1 Abrams tank turrets to Egypt


The United States has delivered five M1A1 Abrams tank turrets to Cairo East Air Base as part of ongoing American security support to Egypt, which also included eight F-16 Fighting Falcons.

The turrets arrived in Egypt on 31 July, according to the US Embassy in Cairo. Built in the State of Ohio, the turrets were flown in directly from the United States and immediately delivered to the Egyptian Tank Plant for US-Egyptian M1A1 tank co-production.

US Embassy Senior Defense Official in Cairo, Major General Charles Hooper noted, “The co-production of M1A1 tanks in Egypt provides the people and the Armed Forces of Egypt with a strong economic and security capability. The delivery of the turrets will allow over 2,000 Egyptian citizens to work at the production plant, as well as provide the Armed Forces with additional means to fight extremism in the region.”

The delivery of these tank turrets and resumption of co-production manufacturing of M1A1 Abrams tanks is the most recent step taken by the US government in support of a security partnership with Egypt that has continued for over 30 years, the United States embassy said.

The United States will deliver an additional 14 M1A1 turrets to Egypt this August with more scheduled turret deliveries as production continues. In addition, the United States continues to provide follow-on support, maintenance, and training for the Egyptian Land Forces.

Egypt has over a thousand M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks in its inventory. 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 after the military took over from Mohammed Morsi’s democratically elected government on July 3 that year.

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.

The eight F-16C Block 52 aircraft were flown to Egypt in two batches of four. The first batch departed the factory in Fort Worth, Texas, and arrived at Lajes Field in the Azores on 28 July before arriving at Cairo West Air Base on 30 July. The second batch followed the same route, arriving in Egypt on 31 July.

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.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian Navy’s new FREMM frigate Tahya Misr arrived in her home port of Alexandria on 31 July, having left Brest in France on 22 July. The vessel was transferred from manufacturer DCNS to the Egyptian Navy on 23 June.

On 6 August Egypt will inaugurate the expanded Suez Canal, with the Tahya Misr as well as three newly delivered Dassault Rafale fighters being amongst the military assets to take part.