State Department OKs $6.9 billion in arms sales in one day!

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State Department OKs $6.9 billion in arms sales in one day
Aaron Mehta
WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department on Wednesday cleared four potential foreign military sales packages, which combine for an estimated price tag of over $6.9 billion.

The four packages, if approved by Congress, would involve AH-64E Apache helicopters for Morocco ($4.25 billion), C-130J aircraft for New Zealand ($1.4 billion), naval guns for India ($1.02 billion), and jammers for improvised explosive devices to Australia ($245 million).

The notifications were posted on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. DSCA notifications are not final sales; once cleared by Congress, the sales enter negotiations, during which quantities and costs can shift.

The largest package is Morocco’s Apache request. Morocco is requesting 36 Apaches after announcing its intention to purchase the American-made helicopters in 2018. The country was considering both the AH-64 and the Turkish-made T129 ATAK helicopter.

The pending deal includes 24 new Apache helicopters with an option for 12 more, as well as 79 T700-GE-701D engines and 36 AN/ASQ-170 modernized target acquisition and designation/AN/AAR-11 modernized pilot night vision sensors, plus fire control radars, radar electronic units and onboard capabilities for manned-unmanned teaming.

The country plans to buy 551 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles and 60 AGM-144L Hellfire missiles, 588 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System kits, and AIM-92H Stinger missiles.

New Zealand’s request would cover five C-130J transport aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin. That nation currently operates the older C-130H aircraft, so it’s familiar with the airframe.

India’s request covers as many as 13 MK 45 5-inch/62-caliber (MOD 4) naval guns, along with 3,500 rounds of D349 Projectile ammunition. Those weapons will be used for “antisurface warfare and anti-air defense missions,” according to DSCA. The program will be managed by BAE Systems, with some sort of industrial offset to be arranged later.

Australia, meanwhile, wants up to 850 Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Increment 1 Block 1 systems, or JCREW I1B1 for short. These are anti-IED jammer systems; the DSCA announcement says Australia is “interested in procuring the dismounted and mounted variants that have a modular, open architecture and are upgradeable in order to maintain capability against evolving global threats.” Those systems are produced by Northrop Grumman.

The start of FY20 has been good for FMS requests. Since the fiscal year started on Oct. 1, there have been 13 requests cleared by the State Department, with a total estimated value of $13.439 billion in potential sales. The head of the DSCA, Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, has said he hopes a series of reforms will help keep sales strong.
 

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