Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member, called on President Obama to delay the handover of F-16 jets to Egypt over concern about the Egyptian government’s commitment to peace and stability. “The recent transfer of four F-16 Block 52 fighter jets to Egyptian armed forces is troubling, and future deliveries of the remaining 16 jets scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013 should be delayed until Congress has had time to review further this foreign military sale,” wrote Inhofe in his letter to Obama, dated Jan. 24. The United States is supplying 20 new-build F-16 jets to Egypt under a military aid package. The first four Lockheed Martin-built airplanes left the United States on Jan. 22 for Egypt, according to press reports. Inhofe has argued that the F-16 deal was agreed to when Egypt was under different leadership, before current President Mohamed Morsi took power. Since then, “there has been constant instability” in that nation, wrote Inhofe. Plus, the Egyptian government’s behavior “calls into serious question” whether Egypt will uphold its peace treaty commitments with Israel, he wrote. (See also Inhofe’s Jan. 25 release.)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.