Egypt Nuclear, Chemical and Missile Milestones – 1960-2000

1960: Egypt imports German engineers and scientists to help develop ballistic missiles.

1961: Egypt starts operation of a Soviet-supplied 2-megawatt research reactor at the Inshas Nuclear Research Center.

1963-67: Egypt uses chemical weapons (tear gas, phosgene and mustard agents) in the civil war in Yemen.

1972: Soviet Union supplies Egypt with FROG-7 missiles.

1973: Egypt reportedly imports nine Soviet launchers and approximately 18 Scud-B missiles; launches three at Israeli positions in the Sinai during the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war. The Soviet Union reportedly prepares to send nuclear warheads for the Scud-B to Egypt during the war in response to Israel’s deployment of nuclear weapons.

Early 1980s: Egypt provides North Korea with Soviet-made Scud-Bs for reverse engineering.

1981: Egypt signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

1982: Egypt begins cooperation with Argentina and Iraq on development and production of a 1,000km-range missile known as the Condor II in Argentina or the Badr-2000 in Egypt. German and Italian companies supply missile technology.

1986: Egypt gains access to the North Korean Scud-B program, including technical documents and drawings.

1987: Egypt reportedly completes construction of an experimental nuclear fuel factory at Inshas Nuclear Research Center.

1987-1990: Egyptian experts work in Iraq on Condor II missile development.

1988: An Egyptian military officer is arrested in Baltimore for trying to smuggle carbon-carbon materials out of the United States. A California aerospace engineer, Egyptian-born Abdelkader Helmy, one of the defendants in the case, later says that he had been recruited for the scheme by Egypt’s defense minister, General Abdel Halim Abu Ghazala.

1989: At the Chemical Weapons Conference in Paris, Egypt defends the right of Arab countries to produce chemical weapons as a counterbalance to Israel’s nuclear weapons.

1989: U.S. officials say Egypt is buying thionyl chloride, a chemical weapon precursor, from companies in India.

1990: Egypt’s Arab-British Dynamics reportedly begins production of the Scud missile at its Heliopolis factory.

1991: Rear Admiral Thomas A. Brooks, director of U.S. naval intelligence, states in Congressional testimony that Egypt is among the non-NATO/Warsaw Pact countries that “probably possess” an offensive chemical warfare capability.

1992: Egypt and Argentina sign a contract to build a 22 megawatt research reactor at Inshas.

1996: U.S. intelligence reportedly detects at least seven shipments from North Korea to Egypt of materials for Scud-C missiles, including steel sheets and support equipment.

July 1997: The CIA confirms that Egypt obtained spare parts and technology from North Korea and Russia last year for its Scud-B missiles.

November 1997: Egypt’s second research reactor at Inshas goes critical. The 22-megawatt reactor is an open pool-type multipurpose reactor cooled and moderated by light water. It uses low-enriched uranium for fuel.

February 1998: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Argentine President Carlos Menem inaugurate Egypt’s second nuclear reactor at Inshas. The $154 million reactor and a $14 million nuclear fuel facility was built by INVAP of Argentina.

October 1998: President Mubarak says Egypt would acquire nuclear weapons if it became necessary. “Acquiring material for nuclear weapons has become very easy and it can be bought,” he said.

February 1999: A CIA report says Egypt “continues its effort to develop and produce” the Scud B and Scud C ballistic missiles. It also says Egypt continues to obtain ballistic missile components and associated equipment from North Korea.

March 1999: The U.S. State Department sanctions three Egyptian companies – Arab-British Dynamics (ABD), Helwan Machinery and Equipment Company, and the Kader Factory for Developed Industries – for engaging in missile proliferation activities with North Korea.

March 1999: The United States agrees to sell Egypt a $3 billion arms package that includes a Patriot air-defense missile system, 24 advanced F-16D fighter jets, and 200 M1 Abrams tanks. This deal follows an earlier agreement in which Egypt acquired from the United States more than 10,000 rounds of armor piercing depleted uranium ammunition for its M1A1 tanks.

February 2000: Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems wins a contract to upgrade five Egyptian air defense radars for enhanced tactical ballistic missile defense.

February 2000: U.S. and Israeli intelligence allege that Western technology obtained by Egyptian government-owned companies is being sent to North Korea where it is adapted and returned as advanced missile components.