The Obama Administration suspended the delivery of four F-16 fighters to the Egyptian air force due to the violent unrest in the Middle East nation, reported Reuters. “Given the current situation in Egypt, we do not believe it is appropriate to move forward with the delivery of F-16s at this time,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki during a July 24 press briefing. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed Egyptian Defense Minister Col. Gen. Abdel Fattah al Sisi on that same day of this decision, according to Reuters. It came several weeks after Egypt’s military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, igniting violence in Egypt. In a subsequent phone call to al Sisi on July 27, Hagel expressed “deep concern about the security situation and recent violence,” said Little in a release. Hagel called for “restraint be exercised during this difficult period,” said Little. The four jets are part of 20 new-build F-16s that the United States is supplying under a military aid package. The Egyptians already operate a large F-16 force. (Psaki transcript) (See also Air Force Halts Most Personnel Moves to Egypt.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.