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Obama okays advanced anti-ship cruise missile for Egypt

Published: July 28, 2012
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Source: World Tribune

Harpoon launched by submarine

WASHINGTON — The administration of President Barack Obama has approved the delivery
of the Harpoon Block 2 missile to Egypt.

Industry sources said Egypt would receive the advanced Harpoon over the next few months under the Foreign Military Sales program.

Harpoon Block 2 missile.

“This will significantly enhance Egypt’s offensive naval capability,” a source said.

On June 29, the Defense Department awarded Boeing a $145.1 million contract for nearly 90 Harpoon missiles, one of the most advanced anti-ship cruise missiles in the world. The order was meant for the U.S. Navy as well as four foreign militaries.

“The first missile deliveries are scheduled for this August and contract
work is expected to run through December 2013,” Boeing said on July 19.

The sources said Egypt was slated to receive the Block 2 missile, which contains land-attack capability. They said Harpoon would be equipped on the new fleet of at least four U.S.-origin fast missile craft for the Egyptian Navy. The vessels were identified as the Ambassador Mk-3, produced by VT Halter Marine.

In October 2011, VT dedicated the first FMC for the Egyptian Navy.
Executives said the 62-meter vessel had been scheduled for delivery in
mid-2012.

The Harpoon project for Egypt has been delayed for more than five years
amid the suspension of FAC production. The sources said Israel raised
concern that the Block 2 Harpoon would change the military balance with
Egypt.

At one point, the sources said, Israel was told that Egypt would receive
a so-called Block 1.5 Harpoon, which would not have land-attack capability.
This has not been confirmed by either the Pentagon or Boeing.

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