US approves sale of 23 CH-47Fs to Egypt

A possible Foreign Military Sale of 23 Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift tactical transport helicopters and related equipment to the Government of Egypt has been approved by the US State Department for an estimated cost of $2.6bn.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced approval of the request on May 26 and said it had delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale the same day. The request also includes 56 T-55-GA-714A engines (46 installed, ten spares); (52 Embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) (EGI) (46 installed, six spares); 29 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) (23 installed, six spares); and 75 M-240 machine guns (69 installed, six spares).

US Army CH-47F
A US Army CH-47F Chinook assigned to the Pennsylvania Air National Guard prepares to land in Red House, Maryland, during static line and freefall proficiency training operations. Egypt has now received US approval to purchase 23 new CH-47Fs. US National Guard/Bo Wriston

Also included is Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) classified software; AN/APR-39 Radar Warning Receivers (RWR); AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets (LDS); High Frequency (HF) radios; Aircraft Survivability Equipment (ASE – including 25.4mm decoy cartridges, impulse cartridges for cable cutters and aircraft cartridges); AN/ARN-147 Very High Frequency (VHF) Omni Directional Radio Range/Instrument Landing System (VOR/ILS) receivers; AN/ARN-153 Tactical Airborne Navigation System (TACAN) radios; AN/APN-209 radar altimeters, AN/AVS-6 Night Vision Devices (NVD); and 7.62mm ammunition.

 The deal would also include items and services to support the mission equipment; hardware and services required to implement additional aircraft options such as: rescue hoists; external cargo slings and nets; Bambi fire buckets; Fast Rope Insertion Extraction Systems (FRIES); Cargo On/Off Loading Systems (COOLS); Extended Range Fuel Systems (ERFS); upgrade to the maintenance hangar and additional parking pads; special tools and test equipment; ground support equipment; airframe and engine spare parts; technical data; publications; Maintenance Work Orders/Engineering Change Proposals (MWO/ECPs); technical assistance; transportation; training; and other related elements of logistics and programme support.  

The DSCA announcement states that: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East. The proposed sale will improve Egypt’s heavy lift capability.  Egypt will use this enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defence and deter regional threats. 
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. 

Egyptian CH-47D
One of the Egyptian Air Force’s current CH-47D Chinooks ready to be deployed to Greece for fire-fighting last year. Although Egypt is planning to acquire 23 new CH-47Fs, it is not yet clear whether the older model CH-47Ds will be retired. Egyptian MOD

There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of seven US Government and six contractor representatives to Egypt to support delivery of the CH-47 Chinook aircraft and to provide support and equipment familiarization. Two contractors would be deployed to Egypt for approximately two years, plus options for additional years. To provide follow-on support for equipment, five military personnel (a Technical Assistance Field Team; TAFT) would be deployed to Egypt for roughly two years.

Currently, the Egyptian Air Force operates 16 older model CH-47D Chinooks. These are operated by 18 Squadron as part of the Tactical Helicopter Regiment at Kom Ashwim Air Base. Egypt had initially acquired 15 Italian-built CH-47Cs, originally destined for Iran, in 1981, of which the 12 remaining operational examples were upgraded to CH-47Ds between 2002 and 2005. Four new-build CH-47Ds also joined the fleet in 1999-2000.On August 6, 2009, the DSCA notified Congress that Egypt had requested a further six CH-47Ds but since then there has been no confirmation that this was ever turning into a firm order.