The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, the Pentagon arm that handles government-to-government arms sales, said the sale of the units that fire Stinger missiles would reduce Egypt's dependence on its old Soviet-supplied air defence systems.
   
It also would enhance "potential interoperability" with US forces, the agency said in a mandatory notice of a proposed weapons sale that lawmakers have the power to block.
   
The principal contractor for the Avenger is the Boeing Company, which has had several high-value contracts with the Department of Defence in the past. 
 
Arms for stability

In a companion notice, the Pentagon proposed to sell Egypt 50 turbine engines for Chinook helicopters and associated hardware and services. The prime contractor would be Honeywell International Inc, the notice said. 
   

The US uses Chinook helicopters
in places such as Afghanistan

Both proposed sales were described by the Pentagon as contributing to US national security by boosting a friendly state that continues to be "an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East".

The announcement of the deals comes a week after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Cairo criticizing the Egyptian government for emergency law, arbitrary justice and violence against peaceful demonstrators.