(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The US Department of Defense (DoD) announced Wednesday plans to sell a F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter plane to Australia and added they will also deliver Apache helicopters to Egypt, according to a DoD statement.
"The first two F-35s for Australia are already in production and are on track for delivery later this year. Today's announcement for additional aircraft will help fulfill their country's national security needs, strengthen our long-standing relationship and solidify the strategic role F-35s will have in the Asia-Pacific region," said Army Col Steven Warren in the statement.
In regard to the Egyptian delivery, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Egyptian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Sedki Sobhy yesterday and informed him of the 10 Apache helicopters the US will provide to support Egypt's counterterrorism operations.
Warren cited Egypt and the US' mutual national security interests and affirmed, "I think what's important here is to note that we believe these Apache helicopters are very useful and powerful tools for the Egyptians to fight terrorism particularly in the Sinai." Warren indicated that because of the instability of Egypt's democratic transition the US is withholding providing additional equipment such as fighter jets, thanks and Harpoon missiles.
"Now that we've completed this look and we know that Egypt has been continuing the fight against terrorism in the Sinai, we believe that they need this additional equipment to continue that fight," Warren stressed.
"We continue to have very close dialogue with Egypt focused on counterterrorism."