Skip to comments.Egyptian M1A1 Production Line Starts Again
Posted on 08/23/2002 6:28:36 AM PDT by TADSLOS
The Egyptian Tank Plant assembly line of the M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) for the Egyptian Army is back in full production, under a co-production programme with US General Dynamics Land Systems, prime contractor for the M1A1.
Under the original contract, a total of 555 M1A1 MBTs were delivered to the Egyptian Army, with final vehicles being delivered late in 1998. Since then another 200 M1A1 MBTs have been added to the contract, for production in two batches of 100. The first one of the latest order rolled off the production line in January this year and production has now built up to four vehicles per month. This is expected to continue until December 2005 when the last of the 200 additional vehicles will be completed.
The second batch of 100 M1A1s was funded through the US government's Foreign Military Sales programme and is valued at an estimated $590 million. In addition to this order, Egypt has also requested 100 120mm M256 smooth-bore tank guns (made by Watervliet Arsenal of the USA); 100 0.50-cal M2 HB heavy machine guns; 200 7.62mm M240 machine guns; and 12 5.56mm M16A2 light machine guns plus other associated spare parts and training equipment.
When completed, the second batch of 100 MBTs will bring the total Egyptian inventory of M1A1s to 755. It is understood that, funding permitting, Egypt would like to procure an additional 200 M1A1's. Egypt is the largest user of the M1 series of MBTs outside of the USA. Kuwait has 218 and Saudi Arabia 315. However, in both cases these are the more recent and enhanced M1A2 MBTs.
The gap in M1A1 production at the Egyptian Tank Plant (also referred to as Factory 200), was filled by co-production of 50 of the latest United Defense LP M88A2 Hercules armoured recovery vehicles. Hulls were supplied from United Defense together with other sub-systems with final assembly taking placed in Egypt. The M88A2 has been designed to recover heavier armoured vehicles such as the M1A1 MBT and is an upgraded version of the older M88A1 of which 221 have been supplied to Egypt.
In a separate development, the US Army Operations Support Command has awarded the ATK Ammunition Systems of the USA a $27 million contract to assist Egypt in the development of a capability to produce 120mm tank training ammunition for the 120mm M256 smooth-bore gun installed in the M1A1 MBT. Under the three-year contract the company will provide technical expertise, equipment and ammunition to support the manufacture of 45,000 rounds of training ammunition at a facility near Cairo. In addition, the company will construct all required equipment for a 120mm ammunition test firing range in Egypt.
Let me address those questions this way. We have always been known for selling arms to our allies, albeit most times not the latest versions. I would be curious to see what, if anything, would be left out of these units and does the US have control over to whom, or if any units may be exported.
Egypt is (besides Turkey) the most moderate of the muslim nations. The terrorists from Egypt are not state-sponsered, indeed the government is making an honest effort to stamp out terrorist cells (unlike most of the mid-east).
Who is Egypt going to fight? They have been at peace with the most likly foe, Israel, since the Carter administration. Egypt is the only Arab nation (to my knowledge) that in fact has a peace treaty with Israel. I think this deal is more a case of a reality check. An MBT is just a big target if you do not have air superiority, which I do not think the Egyptians could have against Israel.
I think it more likely that the administration sees Egypt as a bulwark against the more extreme regimes in Africa. They are bordered by both Sudan and Libya. Why not show support for the moderate (I hesitate to say Liberal) Muslim governments?
The Iranian example is a good one. Remember that the weapons were given to the government of the Shah, who was our strongest ally in the region at the time. When that regime fell, the military was thrown into caos, many of the senior commanders either leaving the country or being killed. The Iranian military was in no shape to fight a war. In the later years of the Iran-Iraq war, they had to resort to using children with grenades to make front-line suicide attacks. Should the Egyptian regime fall to the fundamentalists, I expect much the same thing would happen. Were it to happen in Egypt, it was much more likely 20 years ago when Anwar Saddat was assasinated. Mubarac has proven that he has a firm, if not too tight a grip on the situation and Egypt has been waiting since 1979 for the "fruits" of peace that were promised by the US. Maybe it is about time.
It took us & the brits forever to give it to the germans, who are our allies.
Good question. I don't know.
Globalism. "Unskilled" Egyptian labor is cheaper than U.S. Union labor.
Of course, we can always increase the number of Egyptian H-1B immigrants.
Maybe even teach 'em how to fly airplanes. </sarcasm>
Affluent Egyptians in Cairo Gloat Over Attacks While Eating Big Macs
By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
CAIRO, Egypt -- As the Bush administration works to draw moderate Arab states into its coalition against terrorism, it must consider the mood at a gleaming McDonald's outlet here on Arab League Street, a cosmopolitan avenue in a well-heeled neighborhood of Cairo. Sandwiched between a Rolex watch store and a BMW car dealership, the restaurant is packed with affluent university students dressed in American garb and aware of the billions of dollars in foreign aid that the U.S. has pumped into Egypt. It's the sort of place where one would expect to find sympathy for the American cause. But listen to what they're saying.
Sitting under a poster advertising "Crispy and Delicious McWings," Radwa Abdallah, an 18-year-old university student, is explaining that she rejoiced when she learned that thousands of Americans had probably died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. "Everyone celebrated," Ms. Abdallah says, as her girlfriends giggle. "People honked in the strets, cheering that finally America got what it truly deserved." Fellow student Raghda El Mahrouqi agrees: "I just hope there were a lot of Jews in that building," she says. Sherihan Ammar, an aspiring doctor in elaborate makeup and tight T-shirt, sums up her feelings this way: "America was just too full of itself," she says with a dismissive gesture.
Many Americans and Europeans have been shocked by television footage of Palestinians celebrating the terrorist attacks. But such feelings are hardly limited to Palestinians who live on the West Bank and Gaza and find themselves, all too often, looking down the barrels of American-made weapons. A trip around the capital of Egypt, one of America's main Mideast allies and the biggest Muslim recipient of U.S. foreign aid, shows that educated, relatively wealthy and seemingly Americanized Arabs just as openly express their joy at the carnage in the U.S. Those sentiments, shared by about half of several dozen people interviewed in Cairo, also provide a clue to the motives of the hijackers themselves. They, too, appear to have come from relatively well-to-do families and had little in common with the desperate and usually uneducated Palestinians who make up most of the suicide bombers in Israel.
Although all Arab governments except Iraq's have condemned the U.S. attacks, the prevailing view even among those horrified by the killings is that what happened in New York and Washington isn't all that different from what America itself has inflicted on Iraqis, Palestinians, Sudanese and other Muslims. That sentiment isn't limited to Arab states, either: Opinion surveys conducted in Greece, a NATO ally, indicate that anywhere between 5% and 17% of those polled believe that the U.S. somehow "deserved" the attacks, according to the Greek media.
In the Arab world, public opinion doesn't have the same importance as in the West: No Arab ruler has to worry about winning Western-style elections. But there's only so much that the region's governments can do to help the U.S. without risking serious upheaval at home. "Any Arab country that will ally itself with the U.S. will incur public-opinion losses, and will see its stability undermined," warns Gehad Auda, professor of international relations at Egypt's Helwan University.
Lawyers and Editors
Irritation with American foreign policy runs right through Egyptian society. Sameh Ashour, head of the influential Egyptian Lawyers Association, greets visitors in a building whose facade is draped with a black banner that reads, "Jerusalem Calls! Where Are the Muslims?" He dismisses the attacks in New York and Washington as a "natural result" of American foreign policy. "The U.S. itself practices terrorism when this suits it around the world," he says, "and tries to prevent terrorism when it doesn't suit it."
Mohammed Tantawi, editor of the government-controlled Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper, wrote this weekend that the attacks should be seen as a rather ordinary event. After all, he wrote, "thousands of innocent people, including many children, women and elderly citizens are being killed every day" in Palestinian territories by U.S.-supplied Israeli jets.
This might be a gross exaggeration: About 630 Palestinians, including gunmen and suicide bombers, were killed in the 12 months since the latest round of the Palestinian uprising began, while Israel counts about 170 deaths among its own. But that's exactly how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is perceived by many in the Arab world. That perception is fueled by independent Arabic-language satellite TV channels, which tend to give gruesome details of Palestinian suffering and pay scant attention to victims on the Israeli side.
More Guarded in Marrakech
Even in thoroughly Western-oriented countries like Morocco, a nation far removed from the Israeli-Palestinian struggle and a one-time applicant to join the old European Community, many voice sneaking admiration for the terrorists. In a convenience store in Er Rachidia, a sand-swept town at the threshold of the Sahara, the first television images of the World Trade Center towers engulfed in smoke were greeted with a roar of approval. "Of course we are happy," says the storekeeper as he invited a group of foreigners to stop and watch the news. In Marrakech, the hub of Morocco's tourist industry, reactions were only a little more guarded. "What happened is a terrible thing for all the people involved," says Abdou Hamaoui, a 29-year-old civil engineer sipping a glass of lemon Schweppes at the Cafe Glacier on the main square of the city's old town. "But the U.S. government deserves this."
Herwig Bartels, a former German ambassador to Morocco who now runs the lavish Riad El Cadi inn, says that sentiment reflects "a very strong resentment toward American politics, which is fuelled daily by television reports showing Palestinians being killed." He thinks initial jubilation among Moroccans has waned "now [that] people have seen the civilian side of the attacks." Yet he's still bracing for a drastic decline in American tourists.
'Two Separate Things'
Back in Cairo, those cheering America's loss in Cairo see no contradiction with the fact that they also eat American foods, wear American clothes and watch American movies -- nor with the fact that their country receives $2 billion (2.17 billion euros) in U.S. aid each year. "It's OK to eat at McDonald's because it is managed by Egyptians," says Ms. Abdallah, the 18-year-old university student. "But in general, I do try to avoid American companies -- because, you know, every Saturday they give money to the Jews." In an outdoor cafe a short drive away, Ahmed Ahmad Tarif, a 21-year-old business-administration student, is wearing a Nike T-shirt. He bought it, he says, because it's good quality, even though he believes that "America stands for racism and for being against freedom and democracy." Fellow student Ahmed Hussein, bespectacled and with a thin mustache, reflects for a moment when asked about U.S. economic assistance for Egypt. "The money we receive from America and the hatred we feel for America are two separate things," he finally says, "and should not be mixed together."
--Alessandra Galloni in Marrakech, Morocco, contributed to this article.
LEST WE FORGET!!!
Sums up the muslim thought process rather succinctly.
Now if Egypt were to use these against Sudan or Libya, taht would be fine. Unfortunately, Egypt runs excercises against Israel.
While I think it would be an interesting test to see which is better, a Merkava or M1A1, I don't want to see a real war.
Then again if we look at past wars, perhaps we could look at this as indirectly arming Israel since Israel capture 500 frontline Egyptian tanks every time.
They've been getting billions of our tax dollars every year since Carter.
Bingo. The support contracts in Eygpt and other Arab countries are huge.
There are two sides to this. It helps lower U.S. defense expenditures by allowing some foreign nations to provide for their own security, while keeping the U.S. defense industry dynamic and profitable in case we ever need them to go 24/7 production schedules during wartime.That is the good news.
The bad news is due to industry lobbying during the Clinton adminstration we live in a much more dangerous world. Check out a clean company like ATK, they have a list of all their foreign customers on their web site and in the annual report. They are hiding nothing and remain profitable. Others such as Bernard Schwartz should be tried and executed for treason.
Many Middle Eastern nations have vast expanses of desert where the government has little control and sometimes knowledge of what goes on. They need to control what goes on within their own borders, it is good for world security.
As I understand it the deal with Egypt is they take out of commission one old East Bloc tank for each Abrams they assemble, so the overall size of the armor force does not increase. The issue is the Abrams is so much better than the junk it's replacing in Egypt. The possiblility of a change of regime to a radical Islamic state is really troubling. The only comfort I take is that the Abrams is very maintenance intensive and cut off from U.S. support and supplies the Egyptian force would likely deteriorate quickly. Also, the Israeli Air Force would seize air superiority over Egypt in any conflict, leaving the Egyptian Abrams vulnerable to air attack. I know its cold comfort, but I'm as uneasy about this as many posters.
I concur this is a contractor-driven issue. The Army has discontinued Abrams purchases in favor of the "Future Combat Vehicle" that has not been designed. So, Middle Eastern sales are keeping the U.S. production lines open for now. I suppose it's also nice to know that a big chunk of our aid to Egypt is being recycled right back to U.S. companies and workers and not to Russian sales.
LOL!! Man, that one flew right past me...I shouldn't take things so seriously I guess.