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US to deliver 20 Block 52 F-16s to Egypt

December 11, 2012 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Despite instability due to the new Islamic government in Egypt, the US is sending more than 20 F-16 fighter jets to Egypt as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.

EAF F-16D block 52 #9822 is coming in for landing at NAS Fort Worth on August 8th, 2012 after a test flight. [Photo by Louis DePaemelaere]

The first four F-16s are set to arrive in Egypt on January 22, after undergoing final inspections in Fort Worth, Texas.

Although Egypt already has more than 200 such planes and the latest delivery fulfills an order placed two years ago when former President Hosni Mubarak was still in power, the protests and widespread instability in Egypt have caused some to wonder if providing jets at this time is a bad idea.

The deal was signed in 2010 during the reign of Mubarak but providing Egypt with these jets now may also cause President Obama to appear to be in support of the controversial Egyptian regime that is now in power.

The $213 million order, paid for by US taxpayers, will provide the Egyptian air force with advanced block 52 F-16s. Its fleet of current fighter jets are older versions of the F-16s although they have all been upgraded with most Block 40/42 features so they can accommodate the LANTIRN-system giving them full autonomous laser weapon handling (i.e. GBU-15's, AGM-65D's).

Additional images:

Lockheed Martin test pilot Paul Randall was in the front seat for the first flight of the first two-seat Egyptian F-16D block 52 #9821 on May 17th, 2012 from NAS Fort Worth. [Photo by Carl Richards]

The first of twenty block 52 F-16s for Egypt completed its first flight on April 6th, 2012 from NAS Fort Worth. Called Peace Vector VII, the latest purchase of F-16s by Egypt includes sixteen single-seat and four two-seat versions. [Photo by Carl Richards]