The State Department has signed off on the potential sale, which would include high-explosive rounds Egyptian forces would use in operations against Islamic State militants in the Sinai.
The notification comes as the Islamic State last month claimed responsibility for an attack on an Egyptian police checkpoint in northern Sinai — and as Egyptian security forces reportedly foiled an attack on a checkpoint west of the city of al-Arish.
Since February, Egyptian troops, backed by police, have been conducting a major operation targeting Islamist militants behind a wave of attacks against security forces and civilians, Reuters reported at the time. Hundreds of suspected militants have been killed or captured in the operation.
The bulk of the proposed purchase noticed this week, however, includes target-practice rounds to train M1A1 tank crews, “in proper crew procedures in a training environment using munitions that cost a fraction of tactical rounds and have nearly zero explosive or penetrating capability,” according to the notice from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Egypt has been producing this type of ammunition under an existing co-production agreement for approximately 15 years, DSCA said.
The prime contractor, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, St. Petersburg, Florida, would supply the following:
- 46,000 120mm Target Practice – Tracer (M831A1) and 120 mm Target Practice, Cone Stabilized, Discarding Sabot – (M865) rounds.
- 10,000 120mm 4th-Generation Kinetic Energy-Tungsten (KE-W) A4 Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot with Tracer (APFSDS-T) rounds, to replace older model 120MM KE-W, KE-W Al, and KE-W A2 ammunition to maintain a strategic munitions inventory for its M1A1 tank fleet.
- 4,500 120mm Insensitive Munitions High Explosive with Tracer (IM HE-T) tank rounds.
- Associated equipment, training and logistical support. The proposed sale would involve multiple trips to Egypt involving up to six U.S. government and contractor representatives over a period of up to 5 years.
Joe Gould is the senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry. He served previously as Congress reporter.