WASHINGTON, DC — The United States has approved a potential $57 million sale of air-to-surface missiles to Egypt and an estimated $1 billion sale of helicopters and missiles to Pakistan, according to proposed arms deals that are expected to benefit U.S. national security.
On Monday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the State Department has approved a possible $952 million sale to Pakistan of 15 Bell AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters, 32 General Electric helicopter engines, 1,000 Hellfire missiles, and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.
As part of the potential deal, Pakistan could also receive missile warning systems, target sight systems, mission computers, global positioning navigation systems, communication systems, radar warning receivers, an aircraft ferry, and other gear.
On Wednesday, DSCA announced that State approved another possible major arms deal involving the sale of 356 R-variant Hellfire II Air-to-Ground missiles to Egypt for an estimated cost of $57 million.
Under the deal, Egypt would also receive associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.
U.S. lawmakers have been informed of the possible weapons sales, said DCSA, emphasizing that the sales have not been finalized yet.
DCSA noted that the proposed sale to Egypt “will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been and continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.”
“Egypt will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense,” declared the agency, adding that “the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”
The potential sale to Pakistan “will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a country vital to U.S. foreign policy and national security goals in South Asia,” said DCSA.
Pakistan’s ability to conduct counterterrorism and counter-insurgency operations in South Asia would be strengthened by the U.S. sale of helicopters and weapon systems, argued the defense agency.
Moreover, the sale would help the country combat terrorists in North Waziristan Agency (NWA), the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and other remote and mountainous areas “in all-weather, day-and-night environments, added DCSA.
Taliban terrorists are known to operate along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border where the NWA and the FATA are located. The majority of U.S. military fatalities throughout the Afghanistan war have taken place near the country’s border with Pakistan.
DCSA noted that U.S. defense readiness will not be affected by the arms sale to Egypt and Pakistan.
The Obama administration suspended certain military aid to Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi was removed from the Egyptian presidency in 2013.
Until recently, the U.S. relationship with Egypt had been strained.
Obama had decided to release military aid to Egypt after the North African nation agreed to form a coalition of Arab nations to fight the growing Iranian influence in Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East.
The Arab coalition is also expected to combat threats posed by jihadist groups such as ISIS, which has also expanded into Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Relations between Pakistan and the U.S. were aggravated after Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan without coordinating with Pakistani officials.
In the latest assessment of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, the Pentagon accused Pakistan of providing sanctuary to terrorists fighting American troop in Afghanistan.
The arms sale to Pakistan “will require multiple trips by U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in program and technical reviews, as well as training and maintenance support in country for a period of 66 months. It will also require three contractor representatives to reside in country for a period of three years to support this program,” said DCSA.
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