WASHINGTON (Apr. 4)
Egypt has achieved “major qualitative improvements” in her armed forces, especially the Egyptian air force, Sen. Stuart Symington, Missouri Democrat, revealed today in a report to the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Foreign Relations. The report was based on the Senator’s recent visit to Egypt on his return from Viet Nam. He visited Israel in the course of the same trip.
Sen. Symington, who formerly served as U.S. Secretary of the Air Force, noted extensive Soviet assistance to the Nasser regime. He reported that “the most important military improvements made by the Egyptian military have been noted in their air force, one of the best equipped in the world today.” He made known that “recently the Soviets delivered SU-7 fighter ground-support aircraft” to Egypt. The Senator stressed that “this is the first time this aircraft has been delivered outside the Iron Curtain. Their air force now has MIG-21C day fighters and MIG-21D all-weather fighters.”
The Senator said Egypt now had developed an overall capability of both an offensive and defensive all-weather fighter force. The air force has improved its jet bomber force by introducing the TU-16B, observed carrying the “Kennel” (Soviet) air-to-ground missile. In addition to the numerous other fighter, helicopter and cargo aircraft, Egypt has established operational surface-to-air missile sites for the protection of Cairo, Alexandria, the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam. They have SA-2 (Soviet) missiles,” Sen. Symington reported.
Sen. Symington, in his report on the Egyptian build-up, said that Egypt’s “regular military establishment has more than doubled in size in the last 10 years.” He was impressed that Egyptian forces “have also mads major qualitative improvements, both in materiel and lower-echelon leadership. For the most part these improvements can be credited to the influx of modern Soviet equipment, plus improvement in unit training and organization brought about by Soviet military advisers.”
A considerable portion of the details on Egyptian military preparations and other findings were deleted by the U.S. Government from the report for security reasons.