June 28 (UPI) -- A possible $1.5 billion deal for the purchase of up to five specially equipped Gulfstream G550 aircraft by Australia has won U.S. State Department approval.
The G550s, obtained through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, would be equipped with airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare mission systems.
According to the U.S. Defense Cooperation Security Agency, which managers the FMS program, the proosed sale would also include secure communications, aircraft defensive systems; spares, aircraft modification and integration; ground systems for data processing and crew training; ground support equipment; and logistics.
"Australia is an important major non-NATO ally and partner that contributes significantly to peacekeeping and humanitarian operations around the world," DCSA told Congress in its required FMS notification. "It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability."
The principal contractors for the sales package would be L3 of Greenville, Texas.