WIth all the worldwide news coverage of street protests in Egypt, conflict academic Chris Albon makes an astute point via Twitter: “Want to know why foreign military assistance is often a bad idea? Imagine video of Egyptian protesters being crushed by US-built APCs.”
Albon’s concern is not misplaced, however. The US government has spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to equip the Egyptian security forces with high-tech military hardware.
But unless things get really, really bad there, it’s unlikely that any big-ticket American military hardware will be used directly against the Egyptian demonstrators. A selection of Defense Department contracts dating to the mid-1990s reveals weapons sales to Egypt that include a Black Hawk helicopters (Sikorsky), a dizzying variety of missiles (Raytheon), Abrams tanks (General Dynamics), Humvees (AM General Corp.) and all manner of ammunition.
Now, if through some incredible circumstance Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak decides to flee the country, à la Ben Ali, there’s a good chance his first-class flight would come courtesy of the American taxpayer.
Pentagon contracts show that the US government has spent at least $111,160,328 to purchase and maintain Mubarak’s fleet of nine Gulfstream business jets. (For those keeping score, Gulfstream is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.)
Amateur planespotters have photographed several of the planes around the world. Mubarak also apparently travels in a Airbus A340; I have no idea who put up the money for that one.
Here are the relevant contract summaries:
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Savannah, Ga., is being awarded a $9,535,315 firm fixed price contract modification to provide for continued fleet maintenance support for nine Gulfstream aircraft owned by the Egyptian government. This modification extends contract for 12 months plus 1-year option. Total funds have been obligated. This work will be complete by October 2006. Headquarters 72nd Air Base Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-04-C-0001/P00005).
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Savannah, Ga., is being awarded a $19,825,221 firm fixed price contract modification to provide for the Foreign Military Sales Program in support of FMS Case Egyptian. The Air Force provides follow-on maintenance support for the Egyptian Government’s Presidential fleet of Gulfstream aircraft. The program will provide depot maintenance support, parts and material repair, and supply, field team, and Aircraft on Ground or urgent situation support. At this time, $14,825,221 of the funds has been obligated. Further funds will be obligated as individual delivery orders are issued. This work will be complete by November 2005. Solicitation began October 2003 and Negotiations were completed October 2003. The Headquarters Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (FA8106-04-C-0001).
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Savannah, Ga., is being awarded a $14,907,400 firm-fixed-price contract modification to provide for the Peace Lotus III Program, which is a foreign military sales program for the procurement of two Gulfstream G400 aircraft, Cleopatra modification, associated spares, logistics, support equipment, program management and training on behalf of the government of the Arab Republic of Egypt. The aircraft will become part of the Egyptian Presidential Fleet. Current modification is to establish negotiated firm-fixed prices for the outfitting of two aircraft interiors. Previous effort established negotiated firm-fixed prices for the procurement of two “green” aircraft (airframe only, no interior completion), Cleopatra modification and program management. Future effort will establish firm-fixed prices for associated spares, support equipment, logistics and training and will be covered under a separate 1279 report. Total funds have been obligated. This work will be complete by August 2004. The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (F34601-03-C-0038, P00001).
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Savannah, Ga., is being awarded a $66,892,392 firm fixed price contract to provide for two Gulfstream GIV-SP executive aircraft, associated spares, logistics, support equipment, and training. Contract is expected to be completed September 1998. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. There was one firm solicited and one proposal received. Negotiations were completed March 1997. This effort supports foreign military sales to Egypt. Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., is the contracting activity (F34601-97/C-0244).
* This tidbit also comes via Twitter, thanks to eagle-eyed Foreign Policy magazine managing editor Blake Hounshell; Hounshell also noticed a report that Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak once “commandeered a bus that had been bought with money from the United States Agency for International Development and that had been meant to carry children to school.”