Egypt, with the earliest industrial economy in the Middle East, has engaged in some military production for many years, supplying its own armed forces with light arms and small naval ships. Such production remained minor until recently, both in terms of the Egyptian economy and in terms of the arms purchases of the Egyptian armed forces. Now, with encouragement from the United States and other Western governments and arms manufacturers, Egypt is planning a major arms industry. In the past, such investment plans have fallen short in actual implementation. If these plans do materialize, however, Egypt may soon fill much of its domestic arms orders and begin sizable arms exports to other countries in Africa and the Middle East.