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Cablegate: Country Team Assessment On the Political Release

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

US MCC ACTION ITEM #04-02, AND DOD 5105.38-M (SAMM, CH 5)

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Reason and justification for Egypt's request for
political release of MK48 MOD 4M and 6AT Torpedoes:
a. As part of its ongoing effort to prioritize future
military modernization programs, the Government of Egypt
(GOE) has requested Pricing and Availability (P&A) for
future purchases of advanced, heavyweight submarine
torpedoes to replace the Egyptian Navy's (EN) current
inventory of US manufactured NT-37E torpedoes. Any further
GOE defense planning for the acquisition of two variants of
the MK48 series torpedoes (MOD 4M and MOD 6AT) require
political release from the USG.
b. The EN inventory of NT-37E submarine torpedoes has
become increasingly difficult to maintain. Thirty-five (35)
NT-37E torpedoes were transferred in the 1990s as part of an
FMF-financed project to re-equip EN ROMEO submarines with US
supplied torpedoes and HARPOON cruise missiles. At the time
of transfer, the NT-37 torpedo utilized dated torpedo
technology; today, the maintenance and repair of these
systems have become exceptionally time consuming and
expensive. Acquisition of newer technology MK48 MOD 4M
and/or MOD 6AT torpedoes is viewed by the GOE as a possible
solution to this dilemma.
c. Approval of the GOE request for political release will
enable the GOE to receive the P&A data necessary to make
informed budgetary and prioritization decisions with regard
to replacement of the NT-37E torpedo inventory.

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2. (SBU) Effect of MK48 MOD 4M and MOD 6AT introduction on
GOE naval force structure:
a. A GOE decision to acquire MK48 Series torpedoes would
require modification of the existing ROMEO torpedo tubes and
fire control systems (FCS). The EN was recently told by the
US defense company servicing the current FCS system that
support costs over the next five (5) years are comparable to
the cost of procuring and installing a newer FCS compatible
with the MK48 Series torpedo. Moreover, the new FCS could
be transferred to any submarine the EN acquired in the
b. Introduction of MK48 Series torpedoes will require
significant investment in new torpedo maintenance and
testing facilities (including proper storage bunkers).
c. Compared to the NT-37E, all versions of the MK48 Series
torpedo have greater capabilities in speed, depth, range,
target acquisition, self-noise, and counter-counter measures
(CCM). The MK48 MOD 4 Torpedo has already been exported to
some allies and a favorable Exception to National Disclosure
Policy (ENDP) decision to release this system to the GOE was
made in 1998. (To date, the GOE has not requested purchase
of MK48 MOD 4 torpedoes.) The MK48 MOD 4M variant is
identical to the MOD 4 in every respect except that it has
reduced self-noise and is therefore quieter (reduces counter-
detection). In addition to sharing the self-noise reduction
upgrade of the MOD 4M, the MOD 6AT variant (still in
development) utilizes digital processing that significantly
improves its capabilities in target acquisition range,
shallow water employment, and CCM tactics.

3. (SBU) Effect of MK48 MOD 4M and MOD 6AT introduction on
GOE and USG security goals:
a. EN would acquire a more modern and capable weapon system
that will strengthen its ability to conduct balanced fleet
operations that guard maritime borders, defend vital coastal
ports, and protect the seaward approaches to the Suez Canal.
Any upgrade to submarine capability will enhance the EN
capacity to complete these missions. Moreover, acquisition
of a system compatible with those used by the US and other
world navies offers affordable maintenance and repair
support into the foreseeable future.
b. The USG has long supported a balanced and cost-effective
modernization program for Egyptian military forces in order
to maintain the credible deterrent capability necessary for
regional stability and peace. Modernization of EN submarine
torpedoes is consistent with this policy objective.
Additionally, any improvement to Egypt's naval capability
enhances the security of US and coalition vessels transiting
Egyptian coastal waters and the Suez Canal.

4. (SBU) Justification for the type and quantity of
articles/services requested: In OMC discussions with the EN
subsequent to the LOR, the EN has consistently maintained
its desire to utilize US-supplied heavyweight submarine
torpedoes. Currently, the only type of heavyweight
submarine torpedo offered via US FMS is the MK48 Series.
While the MK48 MOD 4 variant was previously released to the
GOE, it will no longer be produced; instead, only the MK48
MOD 4M and MOD 6AT variants will be offered for sale to
foreign governments. Absent a formal determination for
political release of these systems, the USG cannot provide
the pricing and availability data needed by the EN to
develop its long-range budgetary plan for a submarine
torpedo replacement program. Therefore, the GOE requested
political release of both MK48 torpedo variants.

5. (SBU) Combatant Commander's concurrence to the
introduction of a new war fighting capability to the nation
or region: Combatant Commander's assessment to follow

6. (SBU) Anticipated reaction of neighboring nations/
regional impact: Israeli opposition to the release of
either MK48 MOD 4M or MOD 6AT Torpedoes to Egypt is
expected. As best we can remember, Israel has never
supported a US weapons sale to Egypt. However, Israel's
recent acquisition of newly constructed diesel submarines
equipped with advanced wire-guided heavyweight torpedoes
(from Germany) substantially raised its qualitative military
advantage over Egypt in undersea warfare. This release will
not significantly alter the balance between these countries.

7. (SBU) Assessment of GOE accounting, safeguards,
operation, maintenance, and support:
a. Egypt has signed a general security of information
agreement with the US and the GOE has demonstrated its
willingness and capability to protect sensitive military
technology and information that have been released to its
military in the past. To date, Egypt has been provided
other sensitive/classified US military technology to include
advanced aircraft (F-16, Apache), the M1A1 Tank, MLRS, and
TOW-2A missiles and launchers. The USG has conducted
security audits and verification inspections of these
programs that have validated Egypt's capability to safeguard
sensitive technology/material and classified military
b. The EN satisfactorily maintains (with US assistance) its
current inventory of submarine torpedoes. To date, no
incidence of accidents, misuse, or mishandling of this
ordnance has been reported. The EN is committed to
improving its maintenance self-sufficiency.
c. The deteriorating support available for the EN's
inventory of NT-37s and the rising cost for this support are
the primary reasons for the GOE's request for political
release of newer submarine torpedoes.

8. (SBU) Training requirements: If acquired, a sustained
CONUS training program on MK48 Torpedoes with the US Navy
and defense industry is expected. The EN has sustained a
similar training on the NT-37E torpedoes since the 1990s.

9. (SBU) Possible impact of any in-country US presence that
might be required as a result of providing the article: If
acquired, a regular training program in Egypt is expected.
However, this additional presence will likely be
insignificant when compared to the ongoing work done by
hundreds of US military and defense industry personnel
throughout Egypt. To date, no negative reactions from
either the Egyptian military or population have been

10. (SBU) Source of financing and economic impact: This
sale would be financed from Egyptian FMF-D funding and would
not have a significant impact on Egypt's private economy.

11. (SBU) Relevant human rights considerations: The
Egyptian military has no history of human rights abuses and
supports civilian control of the military. There are no
human rights considerations precluding the release of
additional MK48 torpedo capability to the Egyptian military.

12. (SBU) Plan for end-use monitoring: If acquired, OMC-
Egypt would conduct routine monitoring of EN end-use for
submarine torpedoes to ensure compliance with legal
provisions of foreign military sales and assistance.

13. (SBU) Country team recommendation:
a. Post supports the request to grant an ENDP for political
release of the MK48 MOD 4M Series torpedo to the GOE. Since
the GOE is already approved for release of the MK48 MOD 4,
approval of an ENDP for the MK48 MOD 4M Series would provide
the GOE, Ministry of Defense, and EN the necessary
information to allow an informed decision regarding
replacement of their heavyweight submarine torpedoes.
b. Post recommends against the release of the more advanced
capability MK48 MOD 6AT Series torpedo. While the GOE has a
clear requirement to replace its aged and increasingly
expensive inventory of NT 37 Series torpedoes, it has not
fully articulated a valid need for the latest generation,
digital, advanced capability heavyweight torpedo available
via FMS (with as much as ten times the cost of the MOD 4M).
If acquired, the MK48 MOD 4M Series torpedo would represent
a clear improvement in capability over the Egyptian Navy's
existing NT-37 inventory; the further improvement in
capability offered by the MK48 MOD 6AT Series torpedo would
be redundant in any expected Egyptian Navy operational
c. This is a coordinated Mission position.


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