The US State Department approved and notified Congress on Tuesday of a potential sale to Egypt of C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft and air defence radar systems valued at over $2.5 billion.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale, still not finalized includes a potential $2.2 billion purchase of 12 C-130J-30 Super Hercules Aircraft and related equipment as well as three SPS-48 Land-Based Radar systems and related equipment and services valued at $355 million.
This “will improve Egypt’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing airlift support for its forces by moving supplies, equipment, and people.” the DSCA noted. The aircraft can also be used for maritime patrol and rescue missions, it added.
The Egyptian Air Force already operates 22 C-130H and three C-130H-30 Hercules in its fleet.
In addition to the twelve Super Hercules sales, Egypt will also get four each Rolls Royce AE-2100D Turboprop Engines (installed); twelve Rolls Royce AE-2100D Turboprop Engines (spares); thirty Embedded GPS/INS (EGI) with GPS Security Devices (including 6 spares); and seven Multifunctional Information Distribution System – Low Volume Terminal Block Upgrade Two (MIDS-LVT BU2) (including 3 spares).
Egypt had also requested to buy three SPS-48 Land-Based Radar (LBR), spares, motor generators, repeaters, radomes, technical manuals, site surveys, installation, calibrations, testing, operator training, and maintenance training associated with the SPS-48 LBR; obsolescence replacements of processor, track management system, communication equipment, uninterrupted power supply (UPS), generators, and/or Transmitter Control Unit in fielded SPS-48 LBR systems; updated built-in-testing (BIT) and overhaul of fielded SPS-48 LBR antenna systems; and other related elements of logistical and program support, for an estimated total program cost of $355 million.
The principal contractor for the LBR contract will be L3 Harris Surveillance Systems. Also, there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
The SPS-48 air surveillance radar detects and tracks airborne targets, queues weapons systems, and provides hazardous weather detection and display.
Integrating the SPS-48 radars will not pose a challenge as Cairo already fields the system.
“The proposed sale will improve Egypt’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing airlift support for its forces by moving supplies, equipment, and people, thus strengthening its capacity in the security and humanitarian arena. This airlift capability would assist with border security, the interdiction of known terrorist elements, rapid reaction to internal security threats, and humanitarian aid.”
Egypt human rights violation concerns
This new sales notification comes amid concerns in Washington over Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi‘s human rights violations and treatment of political opponents.
In September, the State Department put a hold on $130 million in military aid already budgeted for Egypt because of a lack of improvement in the human rights situation in the country.
The United States and Egypt improved ties after Egypt’s mediation to help end hostilities in April 2021 between Israel and Hamas militants.
Rights groups had called on the administration to block the entire $300 million aid, expressed disappointment at the decision, saying it was a “betrayal” of the US commitment to promoting human rights.
The State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement: “We are continuing to discuss our serious concerns about human rights in Egypt.”
In early November, Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Egypt in bilateral talks to make “tangible and lasting improvements” on human rights.
The United States has provided around $1.3 billion in foreign assistance to Egypt annually since the 2017 fiscal year, according to a congressional research report.