By Aaron Mehta
Defense News (A Gannett Company)
1:48 p.m. EDT April 8, 2015
WASHINGTON — An Egyptian procurement of 356 AGM-114K/R3 Hellfire II missiles has been cleared by the State Department, the first new procurement since the White House lifted a freeze on weapon sales to that nation.
The sale also comes as Egypt takes part in anti-militant operations in Yemen, which the US is indirectly aiding with logistical support.
If the sale is given the OK by Congress and details are worked out between the two governments, it would represent the first sale of the R model of Hellfire to Egypt. Egyptian military forces currently operate the F and K variants.
The sale, with a projected cost of $57 million, would occur under a Foreign Military Sales agreement. Lockheed Martin would be the prime contractor, with work occurring at its Orlando, Florida, facility.
The announcement of the sale, posted on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website, noted that it would help “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,” the notice reads.
While the justification statement on weapon sales notifications are usually bland, those two statements are notable, given current events.