Egypt Asks US for New Submarines

Published June 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The United States recently received an Egyptian request for the building of three or four submarines in American shipyards, or for military assistance funds to be given for the construction of the boats in Germany or another western country, reported Haaretz Wednesday. 

The Israeli daily added that, at this stage, the United States has not agreed to Egypt's request since American shipyards do not build conventional, non-nuclear submarines. 

The Egyptian navy includes eight Soviet designed submarines. Four of them were purchased in the 1970s and Egypt plans to decommission them, and the other four were purchased in China during the 1980s. The latter were upgraded and can fire Harpoon missiles whose range exceeds 100 kms. Egypt would like to replace its four older boats with submarines similar to Israel's German built "Dolphin" class, said the paper. 

According to Haaretz, Egypt is currently undergoing a similar process to that which Israel experienced during the 1990s when it turned to the United States with a request to build new submarines there. Israel's request was also rejected because of the opposition in U.S. Navy circles to the construction of conventional submarines in American shipyards. The American navy is apparently concerned that it may be forced to buy conventional submarines if they are built in the United States. 

Recently, Egypt purchased large quantities of arms, missiles and artillery rounds from the United States, and the Pentagon announced its willingness to provide it with more AMRAAM (advanced medium-range) air-to-air missiles to equip the 200 F-16 currently in Egypt's air force, said the report. 

Last month, the Pentagon announced an aid package which will sell Egypt 279 155 mm howitzers for $50 million. In addition, a co-production agreement was signed for 45,000 120 mm tank shells for $77 million, according to Haaretz – Albawaba.com 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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