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US finally agrees to sell 24 new F-16s to Egypt

June 29, 2009 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The Obama administration finally agreed to Egypt's longstanding request to purchase 24 new Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft.

EAF F-16B block 15 #9201, #9202 and # 9203 are parked together on the ramp after being delivered to Egypt in 1982. [Photo by Viperdude]

Egypt had requested the US to supply 24 new LF-16 block 52 fighter jets to upgrade its existing fleet.

Sources said U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates relayed the commitment in his May 5 meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian request for the F-16 fighter jets and other military equipment had been denied repeatedly by the former Bush administration over Egypt's record on human rights and democracy.

The other equipment included the Longbow Apache helicopter, mobile air defense systems and the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) which is a guidance kit that converts existing unguided or "dumb" bombs into "smart" munitions.

Lockheed Martin chief executive officer Robert Stevens confirmed that the company had been notified of the Egyptian request.

The 24 F-16s would replace some of the other 220 F-16s of varying capability that Egypt has acquired on five separate occasions beginning in 1980 under direct U.S. Foreign Military Sales and through the Netherlands and Turkey.

Egypt has been flying the F-16 since 1982, and acquired a total of 220 of those jets since 2002 (42 block 15 F-16A/B, 40 block 32 F-16C/D and 138 block 40 F-16C/D).