The US government will delay deliveries of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to the government of Egypt, the Pentagon said on 24 July.

"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," the US Department of Defense says.

Under current US law, the country is not legally allowed to provide military aid to foreign governments where the democratically elected leadership has been removed as a result of a military coup. However, the Obama aministration is not calling the removal of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi by that country's armed forces on 3 July a coup.

"We do not believe it would be in the best interest of the United States to immediately change all of our assistance to Egypt," the Pentagon says. "We are reviewing our obligations under the law and are consulting with Congress about the way forward."

Four F-16s were delivered to Egypt earlier this year. Four more were expected to be delivered in the near future, as part of a 20-aircraft order signed in 2010 for $2.5 billion. Egypt receives about $1.5 billion in military aid every year from the USA.

Lockheed officials referred all questions about the F-16 deliveries to the DoD. "This is an FMS [Foreign Military Sales] programme between the US government and the government of Egypt," the company says. "As such, any questions should be referred to the USG [United States government]."

The Egyptian air force already has an active inventory of 209 F-16s in the A/B and C/D production standards, as recorded by Flightglobal's MiliCAS database.

Source: Flight International