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Lawmakers Want to Suspend Egyptian Military Aid

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An undated photo of the ENS S. Ezzat, an Egyptian Fast Missile Craft. VT Halter Marine Photo

An undated photo of the ENS S. Ezzat, an Egyptian Fast Missile Craft. VT Halter Marine Photo

In the wake of the public uprising that deposed former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — senior members on the Senate Armed Services Committee — have called on the Obama administration to suspend $1.5 billion in military aid to Egypt.

“We ought to suspend aid until the new government shows that it is willing to — and in fact does — schedule elections and put in place a process to come up with a new constitution,” Levin said Monday.

Levin’s comments follow a Monday briefing from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney that said the military removal of Morsi did not constitute a coup.

Under the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act, “any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup d’état,” cannot receive aid outside of money for the promotion of democracy.

The bulk of the aid money — $1.3 billion — is tied up in Foreign Military Financing to upgrade key components of the military.

Suspension of aid could affect the expansion of Egypt’s fleet of General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams main battle tanks from 1,000 to 1,500, acquisition of 20 planned Lockheed Martin F-16C/D tactical fighters and four planned fast missile craft (FMC), according to a Friday report in Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Two of four VT Halter Marine Ambassador III-class FMCs were scheduled to be delivered this year but the status of the ships is unclear.

“The mission of the FMC is to conduct independent and joint operations, primarily against surface adversaries, fulfilling the role of coastal patrol surveillance and interdiction (CPS&I) and surface strike and ensure the use of coastal Sea Lanes of Communication especially in the approaches to the Suez Canal,” read a Monday Naval Sea System Command statement provided to USNI News.
“Each of the 62 meter craft carry a 76mm Super Rapid Gun, Harpoon Block II missiles, MK49 Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM), and the Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) Block 1B.”

The first ship, ENS S. Ezzat, completed builder’s trials in June.
All four ships scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2014.