The U.S. Department of State has approved a potential $1 billion sale to Egypt of 10 Apache AH-64E helicopters and related equipment, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release.
In addition to the 10 Apaches, Egypt has requested 134 Hellfire missiles and 24 launchers, five M36E9 Captive Air Training Missile (CATM) AGM-114R, 12 AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems, 24 1700-GE-701D engines with containers, and an unspecified number of M230 30mm automatic guns.
The request also includes embedded GPS systems, night vision goggles, Doppler radar systems, avionic-related software support, spare parts, technical assistance, and other related equipment and services.
“Egypt intends to expand its existing fleet of multi-mission heavy attack helicopters to address U.S.-Egyptian interest in countering terrorist activities emanating from the Sinai Peninsula that undermine regional stability,” the DSCA said in a Tuesday, November 27 release.
“The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner in the Middle East region.”
In February, Egypt’s army launched a major offensive dubbed “Sinai 2018” to dislodge Islamic State Wilyat Sinai (“Sinai Province”) insurgents from the peninsula.
More than 450 suspected jihadists and around 30 Egyptian soldiers have been killed since the offensive began, the army said in October.
In September, the U.S. approved a possible sale to Egypt of 56,000 tank rounds for operations against ISIS. On Monday, the State Department doubled the estimated cost of those rounds to $201 million from the $99 million value initially stated.
The principal contractors for Egypt’s Apache acquisition are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon.
Boeing describes the AH-64 Apache as “the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter.”
It has a wingspan of 17.15 feet (5.2m) and can climb at more than 2,000 feet per minute. It features laser, infrared and other systems to locate, track and attack targets. It is capable of classifying up to 128 targets in less than a minute.
The Apache can carry a range of weapons including a 30mm automatic cannon, precision Hellfire missiles and 70mm rockets.
The AH-64E Guardian variant features an upgraded Longbow fire control radar, more powerful engines, and advanced avionics and night-vision capabilities.
The first Guardians were delivered in 2011 and full-rate production began in 2012.
Its precedessor, the AH-64D Apache Longbow, was in service with the U.S. Army and other defense forces since the 1990s.
On September 17, the Netherlands signed a $1.2 billion agreement to upgrade the Dutch fleet on AH-64D Apache helicopters to the AH-64E configuration.