LONDON (Jan. 16)
The latest order for six navy missile craft will bring Egypt’s arms purchases in Britain to nearly one billion Pounds Sterling in the past four years. The new order, worth 150 million Pounds Sterling, is for advanced fast patrol boats to be built by Vesper Thornycroft. It was confirmed on the eve of Prime Minister James Callaghan’s talks in Aswan with President Anwar Sadat at the end of last week. The company is discussing another contract for the maintenance of Egypt’s Soviet-supplied vessels.
Callaghan was preceded in Egypt last week by Britain’s Defense Minister Fred Mulley who signed a memorandum of understanding with the Arab military industries organization for joint production in Egypt of anti-tank rockets. The Arab company is financed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Talks are also well advanced on the supply and manufacture in Egypt of British Lynx helicopters. Meanwhile, the British Aircraft Corporation and Rolls Royce have been maintaining Egypt’s aging fleet of Soviet MIG-21 fighter-bombers. Egypt has turned to Britain and other western countries for arms following the deterioration of her relations with the Soviet Union, her main supplier for more than 20 years.