The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through its Middle East District, has been involved with the Peace Vector Program in Egypt since November 1980, supporting the United States’ sale of F-16 aircraft to the Egyptian Government.
The Middle East Division, now known as the Middle East District (TAM), supported the F-16 aircraft sale through its involvement in the Peace Vector projects. These Foreign Military Sales (FMS) projects were generated after the agreements signed at the Camp David Peace Accords.
Egypt acquired 42 F-16s through the Peace Vector I program. The MED was involved in providing design and procurement assistance for support facilities at Shas Air Base, the F-16 main operating base for the Egyptian Air Force headquartered in Cairo. The existing facilities required upgrades and rehabilitations as well as construction of new maintenance and support facilities for new aircraft.
The Egyptian Air Force performed the architectural, civil and structural design, construction and equipment installation, according to an article in TAM’s archives dated Sept-Oct 1981. In January 1981, the Middle East Division signed a memorandum of understanding with the Air Force to perform the mechanical and electrical design, and the procurement task was an added revision.
Work eventually included complete design for a flight simulator, design of a 4,000 KVA Class A power plant building, and procurement of construction materials and equipment for the simulator building, as well as a two-year supply of spare parts. “This amounts to nearly $1.5 million above the previously established $6 million budget for the Corps of Engineers’ work,” said LCDR Jim Ealy, MED’s project manager at the time.
The Egyptian Air Force accepted the first F16 during a ceremony at Fort Worth in January 1982, with the first six planes arriving in Egypt in March 1982.
Under the Peace Vector II program, Egypt ordered 40 additional F-16s with delivery in January 1986 at Beni Suef Air Base, south of Cairo. MED’s mission in the Peace Vector program was generally to provide facilities necessary to house and train personnel, and maintain the aircraft.
The District’s role included preparing design and construction packages for 11 new facilities, upgrade to 31 existing facilities, and all new utilities for the F-16 support facilities.
Peace Vector I and II: The U.S. Air Force Logistics Command was the program manager; General Dynamics was the system contractor; and the Egyptian Air Force was responsible for construction and equipment installation.
Peace Vector III: Egypt ordered 47 more F-16s in June 1990, intended to equip two squadrons as well as to make up for attrition. The Middle East District, operating then as the Middle East/Africa Projects Office, performed full design and construction for the $160 million upgrade to facilities at Amoun Air Base, Egypt. The main operating base was an existing Egyptian military airfield, built in the early 20th century so many facilities were demolished and rebuilt. Other upgrades and replacements included airfield paving and lighting; operations facilities; runway/taxiways, and aircraft maintenance facilities; munitions, storage and supply facilities; fencing, guard towers and gate houses; water, sewage, electrical and telephone services. The F-16s were delivered in December 1991.
Peace Vector IV: A contract to produce 46 F-16C/D’s for the Egyptian Air Force was placed with TUSAS Aerospace Industries of Turkey, 34 of them F-16C’s, 12 F-16D’s. This was carried out under the auspices of the Peace Vector IV program, and marked the first sale of a foreign-built Fighting Falcon to a third-party nation in the history of the F-16 program. The first aircraft was delivered in early 1994, and deliveries continued into 1995. All but one of the earlier F-16s for Egypt had originated on the Lockheed/General Dynamics production line at Fort Worth, Texas.
A signing ceremony to celebrate the award of a major construction contract for $163 million for the Peace Vector IV program was held Aug. 19, 1992 at the District’s headquarters as the Transatlantic Division. The rules and regulations under the Foreign Military Sales Program operatives prevent delivery of the F-16s directly to Egypt, and instead, the aircraft are initially delivered to the U.S. Air Force, and then in turn, hands them over to Egypt.
Peace Vector V: In May 1996, the governments of Egypt and the United States signed an agreement to provide for the sale of 21 new F-16C/D aircraft to the Egyptian air force. The contract was worth $670 million. The new Egyptian aircraft were manufactured in Fort Worth, Texas with deliveries in 1999. These aircraft, as well as the aircraft being delivered from prior F-16 purchases, replaced aging Soviet-origin aircraft. The new shipment was spread among the existing F-16s at Abu Suwayr and Genacklis Air Base.
Peace Vector VI: In March 6, 1999, the United States agreed to sell Egypt $3.2 billion worth of new American weapons, including 24 F-16 Block 40 aircraft, 200 M-1A1 tanks and 32 Patriot missiles. Egypt paid for the arms from the $1.2 billion a year it gets in U.S. military aid. The 24 F-16 fighters would cost $1.2 billion.
Peace Vector VII was established to support the Egyptian Air Force procurement of F-16 A models and to accommodate for base expansion and upgrades, enhancing operability, safety, security, maintenance and training capabilities.
Under Peace Vector VII, the F-16 program with its 107 total facilities, totaling $150 million, was executed using four different contracts:
- PFFS Phase II, URS-CII Joint Venture composed of 23 facilities
- Package A, Contrack International, Inc., 18 facilities for $20 million
- Package B, AICI-Archiroden Joint Venture, 50 facilities/features of work for $112 million
- Package C, AICI-Archirodon Joint Venture, 16 facilties, $14.2 million.
“It may look easy today, but it was not really that easy as we were faced with lots of challenges,” said Khaled Masoud, chief of Middle East District’s Construction Division. “As a team, we conquered those and completed beautiful facilities that we are all proud of.”