On Thursday, the Pentagon said the State Department approved a potential sale of CH-47F Chinook helicopters and related equipment to Egypt worth about $2.6 billion.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the sale is for 56 Chinooks, which come with installed M-240 machine guns. The principal contractor for the deal is Boeing.
The Chinook sale is the second arms deal the Biden administration moved forward for Egypt this month. Last week, the State Department approved the sale of over 5,000 TOW 2A anti-tank missiles worth an estimated $691 million.
The sales to Egypt come despite concerns in Washington over Cairo’s human rights abuses and its harsh treatment of political prisoners. Egypt receives about $1.3 billion in military aid from the US each year, the second-highest of any country except for Israel, although Ukraine has surpassed both nations for 2022.
Last year, the Biden administration withheld $130 million in military aid from Egypt after pressure from Congress, but many critics said it didn’t go far enough. As a candidate, President Biden vowed to take a harder line on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, but the arms sales continued.
The State Department’s approval of the Chinook deal begins a period where it could potentially be blocked by Congress.