The US Department of State has approved the sale of new military equipment to Egypt for $197 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on Tuesday.
According to the DSCA statement, the deal involves the sale of rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) Block 2 Tactical Missiles and related equipment.
“The proposed sale will support the Egyptian Navy’s Fast Missile Craft ships and provide significantly enhanced area defense capabilities over Egypt’s coastal areas and approaches to the Suez Canal," the statement said, adding that the deal “will not alter the basic military balance in the region."
"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally country that continues to be an important strategic partner in the Middle East," the statement said.
Egypt has been upgrading its naval forces in the past few years with new frigates from France and Italy as well as submarines from Germany.
In December, Egypt received the FREMM Bergamini frigate as a new addition to its navy, "which has recently witnessed a technological boom in armament systems and combat efficiency to cope with the latest global defence systems," according to the Egyptian army spokesman.
The US has been providing Egypt with foreign aid, including military assistance, since Cairo's 1979 peace deal with Israel. Each year, Egypt receives approximately $1.3 billion in US military aid, as well as an annual economic assistance package, which amounted to $150 million in 2016, according to the Egyptian foreign ministry’s website.