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Cablegate: Timeline for Supplying Counter-Tunneling Equipment

VZCZCXRO9519
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #1029/01 1421037
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211037Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9297
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 001029

SIPDIS

OSD FOR AGUIRRE
CENTCOM FOR AMMONS
NSC FOR PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PARM PREL MASS EG
SUBJECT: TIMELINE FOR SUPPLYING COUNTER-TUNNELING EQUIPMENT
TO THE GOE

1. Summary: In order to improve Egyptian efforts on the Gaza
border to interdict smuggling through underground tunnels,
the USG is supplying the GOE with counter-tunneling equipment
out of military aid funds. The program is divided into three
phases to provide a command and control underground
seismic-acoustic counter-tunneling detection system with the
capability of detecting tunnels along ground parallel to the
Egypt-Gaza border. In addition to the underground system,
the USG will provide additional equipment to assist the GOE
in identifying and destroying the tunnels. The GOE will
receive training on the system and additional equipment in
Egypt, and there is a site survey planned on the Rafah border
for June. Training for Phase I is tentatively expected to be
completed in November 2008, and installation on the Gaza
border should begin in late November 2008. We expect the GOE
to be able to begin using the system on the Gaza border in
January 2009. End summary.

-------
Phase I
-------

2. Phase I of the program consists of providing a command
and control seismic-acoustic counter-tunneling detection
system with the capability of detecting tunnels along 3.6
kilometers of ground parallel to the Egypt-Gaza border. In
coordination with the GOE, we will determine the most
appropriate location on the border for the initial
installation. Phase I began on March 6, 2008 when the GOE
signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA), and is expected to extend
until January 1, 2009 when the counter-tunneling equipment is
expected to be fully operational on the border. In
additional to the counter-tunneling detection system which
consists of sensors buried under the ground, during Phase I
we will also supply the Egyptians with the following
equipment: 2 "unmanned ground vehicles," which are tethered
robots to be inserted into the tunnels; 10 hand-held thermal
imaging cameras to be used by Egyptian Border Guard Forces
(BGF) to identify tunnels at short-range; 2 "over-watch"
thermal imaging cameras that operate like binoculars to
identify the tunnels at longer range; 1 electro-magnetic
instrument to identify tunnels and 1 drill rig to destroy
tunnels. During Phase I, we will also provide training in
Egypt for Egyptian BGF personnel, and will transport and
deploy the counter-tunneling system to the Rafah border.

3. On March 6, the GOE signed an LOA to begin the program.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) began the transfer
of funds to procure the equipment for Phase I on April 1.
The procurement process of the equipment listed in para 2
will continue until August 1. After August 1, USACE would
set up the system for training in Egypt away from the border.

4. From October 13 to November 7, USACE plans to train
Egyptian Border Guard Forces in Egypt on how to use the
equipment. Starting November 24 following the completion of
training, the USACE plans to begin installing the
seismic-acoustic system on the Rafah border. Installation of
the system will take approximately one month and the GOE is
expected to be able to begin using the system on or about
January 1, 2009 with U.S. technical assistance available to
assist in the "User Test Phase." The GOE would have full
operational control of the system on or about February 1,
2009 without the day-to-day U.S. technical assistance.

--------
Phase II
--------

5. Phase II would commence on or about January 1, 2009,
assuming GOE concurrence to move forward. Phase II will be
virtually identical to Phase I and would aim to lay down a
counter-tunneling system to detect tunnels along an
additional 3.6 kilometers of ground parallel to the
Egypt-Gaza border. All training will have been completed in
Phase I, so Phase II would entail procuring the equipment,
shipping it to the border, and installing it. The same
equipment would be supplied, as is outlined in para 2,
although the quantities of hand-held thermal imaging cameras
and long-range thermal imaging cameras would be increased to
20 and 5 respectively. These increases are simply due to
small budgetary differences between the phases. Equipment
procurement would continue until July 2009. Installation
would take place between July and August 2009, and then the
Egyptians would begin to use the equipment in a "User Test"

CAIRO 00001029 002 OF 002


arrangement between September and October 2009 with the same
Technical Assistance package as Phase I. We would expect the
GOE to have full operational control of the equipment in
November 2009.

---------
Phase III
---------

6. Phase III would aim to supply the counter-tunneling system
to detect tunnels along an additional 2.4 kilometers of
ground parallel to the Egypt-Gaza border. The equipment
would be the same as in para 2, except there would be 1
unmanned ground vehicle, 20 hand-held thermal imaging devices
and 3 longer range thermal imaging devices. Phase III would
begin with GOE approval; equipment procurement would take 3
months, installation on the Gaza border another 3 months,
assessment and testing 2 months. We expect that the GOE
would have full operational control of the equipment from
Phase III in the fall of 2010.
SCOBEY

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