Obama Sending 20 F-16s to Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
By Maxim Lott
Published December 10, 2012
Instability in Egypt, where a newly-elected Islamic government teeters over
an angry population, isn't enough to stop the U.S. from sending more than 20
F-16 fighter jets, as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.
The first four jets are to be delivered to Egypt beginning Jan. 22, a source
at the naval air base in Fort Worth, where the planes have been undergoing
testing, told FoxNews.com. The North African nation already has a fleet of more
than 200 of the planes and the latest shipment merely fulfills an order placed
two years ago. But given the uncertainty in Cairo, some critics wonder if it is
wise to be sending more top gun planes.
“Should an overreaction [by Egypt] spiral into a broader conflict between
Egypt and Israel, such a scenario would put U.S. officials in an embarrassing
position of having supplied massive amounts of military hardware … to both
belligerents,” said Malou Innocent, a foreign policy analyst at the Cato
Institute. “Given Washington's fiscal woes, American taxpayers should no longer
be Egypt’s major arms supplier.”
The U.S. government ordered
and paid for the
fighter jets for Egypt's military as part of foreign aid for Egypt back in 2010,
when Hosni Mubarak ruled. The fighter jets were supposed to be delivered in
2013, and delivery will go ahead as scheduled even though Hosni Mubarak has been
removed from power and replaced by Mohamed Morsi, who led the Muslim Brotherhood
before becoming Egypt's president.
"The Morsi-led Muslim Brotherhood government has not proven to be a partner
for democracy as they had promised, given the recent attempted power grab," a
senior Republican congressional aide told FoxNews.com.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Committee on Foreign
Affairs, recently criticized U.S.
military aid to Egypt:
“The Obama administration wants to simply throw money at an Egyptian
government that the president cannot even clearly state is an ally of the United
States,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said.
The $213 million order, which is paid for by U.S. taxpayers and is part of
Egypt's foreign aid package from America, had to be approved by lawmakers in
Washington.While the basic F-16 has been a military workhorse for top air forces
for more than 25 years, the cockpit electronics are constantly updated and the
models Egypt is getting are the best defense contractor Lockheed Martin
"We remain committed to providing our customer with a proven, advanced
4th Generation multirole fighter."
"In an air combat role, the F-16's maneuverability and combat radius exceed
that of all potential threat fighter aircraft," the U.S. Air Force description of the
"The F-16 can fly more than 500 miles, deliver its weapons
with superior accuracy, defend itself against enemy aircraft, and return to its
starting point. An all-weather capability allows it to accurately deliver
ordnance during non-visual bombing conditions."
A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. and Egypt have an important alliance that
is furthered by the transfer.
"The U.S.-Egypt defense relationship has served as the cornerstone of our
broader strategic partnership for over thirty years," said Lt. Col. Wesley
Miller. "The delivery of the first set of F-16s in January 2013 reflects the
U.S. commitment to supporting the Egyptian military's modernization efforts.
Egyptian acquisition of F-16s will increase our militaries' interoperability,
and enhance Egypt's capacity to contribute to regional mission sets."