|Egypt: Deal for 24 F-16's|
|Tue, 05 January 2010 14:32|
Lockheed Martin is to sell 24 F-16 jet fighters to Egypt in a $3.2 billion deal, a company spokesman said Dec. 29.
"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 said.
The company hoped to get the contract signed "early next year," he said, adding that the figure "was the amount in the agreement between the two countries."
According to Lockheed, the F-16 is flown by 25 nations. 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 U.S. 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.
Shares in Lockheed Martin closed 1.27 percent higher Dec. 29 at $76.66 in Wall Street trading.
Relations have improved under President Barack Obama's administration. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak flew to Washington in August for his first presidential summit in the United States in five years, following differences with the Bush administration.
Obama chose to address the Muslim world in Cairo in June, vowing a "new beginning" for U.S. ties with the Islamic world and promising to end years of "suspicion and discord."
Egypt receives about $1.5 billion annually in U.S. aid.