Sept. 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Middle East ally Bahrain seeks to strengthen its air force with the purchase of 19 F-16V aircraft and upgrade of 20 more F-16s in its fleet.
The proposed purchase and upgrades -- worth a combined total of $3.867 billion, will come under two U.S. Foreign Military Sales contracts approved by the U.S. State Department.
The possible deals were reported to Congress Friday by the U.S. Defense Security and Cooperation Agency, which manages the FMS program.
"The proposed sale improves Bahrain's capability to meet current and future threats," DSCA said. "Bahrain will use the capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense."
"This purchase of F-16Vs will improve interoperability with United States and other regional allies."
The proposed contract for the 19 F-16Vs, worth $2.785 billion, includes M61 Vulcan 20mm gun systems; F-110-GE-129 engines; APG-83 active electronically scanned array radars; modular mission computers; GPS navigation systems; and missile launchers.
U.S. government and contractor technical support, logistics would also part of the deal.
Lockheed Martin would be the prime contractor.
Under the second contract - value $1.082 billion - 20 F-16 Block 40 aircraft of the Royal Bahraini Air Force, would be upgraded to the "V" configuration. The modernization inclides new F-110-GE-129 engines, AESA radars; modular mission computers and other equipment feature in the order for new aircraft.
The prime contractor would be Lockheed Martin.