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Air-Launched Weapons

France could replace US parts in SCALP missile to circumvent ITAR restrictions for Egypt, but at some delay

02 August 2018
The SCALP land-attack cruise missile seen in a non-operational orange colour scheme as part of a wider Rafale weapons package. US parts in the missile have triggered ITAR restrictions on it being sold to Egypt. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

Egypt could still receive MBDA SCALP cruise missiles from France, if it is willing to accept a delay while US-manufactured components are replaced with French ones.

Answering questions on weapons exports in the country’s National Assembly, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said that the decision by the United States to use the International Trade in Arms Regulation (ITAR) agreement to block the sale of the air-launched land-attack cruise missile to Egypt could be circumvented if domestically-built parts are used instead, but that this would take time.

“In this case, we will not be able to lift the US opposition to the sale of SCALP missiles [to Egypt]. The only thing we can do is for MBDA to make some investment in research and development to be able to manufacture similar components that are not covered by ITAR,” Parly said during a 4 July session of the assembly, a transcript of which was recently published. “We can do it for the Egyptian SCALP/Rafale in so far as the new missile can be built with a reasonable delay, though the customer might find this delay a bit too long,” she added, without quantifying the length of the delay.

As noted by Parly in her response, the issue of the ITAR regulation is not just affecting the sale of the SCALP missile to Egypt, but also of the Dassault Rafale that will carry it. Cairo is looking to add to the 24 aircraft it has already procured from Paris with 12 more, with these additional platforms being equipped with the SCALP missile. According to reports, the Egyptian government will not sign for the new aircraft unless the missiles are included.

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