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U.S. Agrees to Sell Arms to Egypt

Associated Press | June 28, 2005

The Bush administration has authorized the sale of 25 Avenger anti-aircraft missile launchers to Egypt, calling its ally "an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East."

The Avenger, sometimes seen around Washington during terror alerts, is a Humvee that carries a launcher that fires Stinger surface-to-air missiles.

The total value of the deal, which would include technical support and other associated parts, could be as high as $126 million, according to a statement from the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Egypt would be able to build two air defense brigades around the Avengers, the statement said.

"This proposed sale will reduce Egypt's dependence on its Soviet air defense systems and will enhance potential interoperability with U.S. forces," the Pentagon said.

The principal contractors are Boeing Aerospace Company of Huntsville, Ala., and International Telephone and Telegraph of Fort Wayne, Ind.

Congress has a month to pass a joint resolution opposing such a sale, which would effectively kill it. Such a move is regarded as unlikely.

The Bush administration also authorized the sale of 50 replacement engines for Egypt's CH-47 Chinook helicopters, a deal worth up to $74 million, the agency said in a separate statement.

The announcement came a week after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Cairo.

In the past, Israel has raised concerns about U.S. arms sales to its Arab neighbors. Israeli and American officials are in discussions this week as the Bush administration seeks to limit what technology Israel will sell to China and other countries.



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