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Saudi Arabia, Turkey request $2B in U.S. military equipment deals

The U.S. State Department has approved Foreign Military Sales deals for helicopters and weapon systems to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

By
Richard Tomkins
An MH-60R comes in for landing. U.S. Navy photo/y Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Turne.
An MH-60R comes in for landing. U.S. Navy photo/y Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Turne.

WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- U.S. Foreign Military Sales program deals are in the works to provide multi-mission helicopters to Saudi Arabia and upgrades to Turkey's Phalanx weapon systems.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which is in charge of the FMS program, told Congress in its required notification that the two proposed deals have been approved by the State Department and are worth a combined total of more than $2.2 billion.

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Both, it said, will contribute to the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States.

Saudi Arabia is seeking the sale of 10 MH-60R helicopters together with spare parts, associated equipment and logistics support for an estimated $1.9 billion.

The MH-60R is the U.S. Navy's primary anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare helicopter platform from Sikorsky Aircraft and with sensors and mission systems from Lockheed Martin.

In addition to the aircraft, Saudi Arabia is asking for 14 APS-153(V) multi-mode radars for the aircraft; 24 T-700 GE 401 C engines; a dozen APX-123 identification-friend-or-foe transponders; 14 AN/AAS-44C(V) multi-spectral targeting systems forward looking infrared radars; and 26 embedded GPS/inertial navigation systems with selective availability/anti-spoofing module and Data Link-16 capability.

AN/SSQ-36/53/62 Sonobuoys -- 1,000 in all, AGM-114R Hellfire II missiles, and Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System rockets are also part o the package.

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"The proposed sale will improve Saudi Arabia's capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems," DSCA said. "The MH-60R multi-mission helicopter will provide the capability to identify, engage, and defeat maritime security threats along with the ability to perform secondary missions, including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay.

"Saudi Arabia will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense."

If the proposed sale is implemented, assignment of additional U.S. government and/or contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia would be required.

The proposed Turkish deal for MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems carries a value of $310 million. It covers the purchase of four Block 1B Baseline 2 systems and the overhaul, upgrade, and conversion of MK 15 Phalanx CIWS Block 0 systems to the Block 1B Baseline 2 configuration.

Turkey also seeks 21 remote control stations, 21 local control stations, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment.

"Turkey is a partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region," DSCA said. "The proposed sale will provide the Turkish Navy with enhanced self-defense capabilities for surface combatants supporting both national and multinational naval operations."

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The principal contractor for the new systems and upgrades would be Raytheon Missile Systems.

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