LONDON – The United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) greenlighted a potential Foreign Military Sale of 23 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters to the Al Quwwat Al Jawwiya Il Misriya (Egypt Air Force). This export is expected to cost around $2.6 billion, according to a bulletin published on the 26th of May 2022. This deal is still yet to be confirmed by the US Congress.
Looking into the Deal
Furthering the purchase of the 24 Chinook helicopters, the Egyptian Air force also requested the sale of 56 T-55-GA-714A engines (46 installed and 10 spares), 52 inertial navigation systems, 29 AN/AAR-57 missile warning systems and a variety of other avionics, 75 machine guns M-240 with their ammunition, and maintenance equipment.
Within the deal, it is also reported that the Chinooks are the be equipped with the latest technology. The package includes the provision of AN/APR-39 radar warning receivers, AN/AVR-2B laser illumination detectors, encrypted radios, AN/ARN-147 high-frequency VOR/ILS equipment, AN/APN-209 radio altimeters, AN/AVS-6 night vision equipment, 7.62mm ammunition, and several other items, such as Bambi fire buckets for firefighting.
The DSCA said: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East.” “Egypt will use this enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defence and deter regional threats.”
The air force of Egypt already operates 19 CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Currently, 19 aircraft, namely 16 CH-47D and 3 CH-47C, are flown by the 18th and 33rd squadrons, both based in Kom Awshim Air Base, southwest of Cairo.
The newly purchased 23 Chinooks will also likely be based and operated by the 18 Squadron, part of the 546 Air Wing and 33 Squadron/Chinook OCU at Kom Awshim airbase.
An Important Market?
Egypt is known to go on a shopping spree when it comes to purchasing arms, from Europe the United States and Russia.
The Helicopter fleet of the Egyptian Air Force is comprised of Mil Mi -17, Mil Mi-24, Kamov Ka-50, AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook, Sikorsky A070, Westland Sea King, SH-2G Super Seasprite, Aerospatiale Gazelle, Agusta Westland AW109, AW139, 149, 189. These consists of both Wester and Soviet-made helicopters. Egypt being a non-major ally may be the only reason why (DSCA) greenlighted a potential sale of the Chinooks.
The sale of the Chinook could be said to be a potential advantage for the U.S. This is to showcase their technology and capabilities and might sway the Egyptian government to procure more American or western armament instead of the Russian made. This deal is not only to strengthen Egypt’s vertical lift capability but to lure the Middle-Eastern nation to become closer to the U.S.