Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Letters from Egypt: Chinook in the Sky



Picture Source: Boeing/Egyptian Air Force
If you’re in Cairo (and I’m also assuming Alexandria as well as other designated areas), chances are you heard large aircrafts patrolling the skies throughout the day. If you stepped outside, chances are you saw military plane(s) hovering overhead.

The bus-like aircraft, Chinook or Boeing CH-47, is an American twin engine helicopter first developed in 1962. Egypt currently has 18 CH-47D, and in August, announced it was interested in purchasing six more from the US Army (although it doesn’t have the money to actually purchase six more). Its primary mission is to “move troops, artillery, ammunition, fuel, water, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield.”

As voting on a draft constitution began today, Egypt heightened security. Officials said that 250,000 police and military would be deployed to protect the referendum and I was told that the aircraft could transport around 30 troops – maybe more. So far the only incident reported is an explosion at a courthouse in Giza’s Imbaba neighborhood, but thankfully there were no casualties. Polling stations are open throughout the country for 12 hours, from 9 am to 9 pm, today and tomorrow.

As I said on the previous blog posting, military leader and defense minister, General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, also announced that he would run for president if the referendum was approved by large margins. I guarantee he would run for president even if it wasn’t approved by “large margins”.

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