The United States will deliver eight F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, as part of its ongoing military support to Egypt, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo announced Thursday.
The statement on its website said the eight F-16 Block 52 aircrafts will be flown in directly from the United States and arrive at an air base outside Cairo by Friday. Four more F-16s will be delivered to Egypt later this year, it added.
The embassy’s senior defense official Major General Charles Hooper said “the F-16s provide a valuable capability that is needed during these times of regional instability. Extremists threaten regional security and these weapon systems provide a new tool to help Egypt fight terrorism.”
The announcement was made days ahead of U.S. Secretary State John Kerry’s Middle East tour on Sunday. Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will co-chair a strategic dialogue in Cairo.
Washington had frozen parts of its 1.3 billion U.S. dollars in annual military aid to Cairo since July 2013.
The two countries’ ties have improved since former military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took office in mid-2014. Last month, the U.S. delivered to Egypt two navy vessels.
The statement said the U.S. will continue providing follow-on support, maintenance and training for Egyptian pilots and ground crews. Enditem