New York: US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is to sell 24 F-16 jet fighters to Egypt in a 3.2 billion dollar deal, a company spokesman said Tuesday.
“We understand that the governments of the United States and Egypt have reached an agreement over a contract for military sale to provide 24 F-16s to Egypt,” Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout told AFP.
The company hoped to get the contract signed “early next year,” he said, adding that the 3.2 billion dollars “was the amount in the agreement between the two countries.”
The F-16 is flown by 25 nations, according to the company. More than 4,400 aircraft have been delivered worldwide from assembly lines in five countries.
The latest Egyptian deal, to “supplement” the current fleet, had been in discussion for some time but was officially notified to the US Congress in October, Stout said.
The Egyptian Air Force is the fourth largest F-16 operator in the world, according to defense industry reports.
It began flying the F-16 in 1982, after years of using military equipment supplied by the former Soviet Union.
US-Egypt relations have improved under President Barack Obama’s administration.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a veteran Middle East power broker, flew to Washinghton in August for his first presidential summit in the United States in five years following differences with the previous George W. Bush administration.
Obama chose to address the Muslim world in Cairo in June, vowing a “new beginning” for US ties with the Islamic world and promising to end years of “suspicion and discord.”
Egypt, which receives about 1.5 billion dollars in annual US aid, was the first Arab state to make peace with Israel, a top US ally.