July 23 (UPI) -- The State Department has authorized a possible $634.7 million deal for upgrades to the F-16 aircraft, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced Thursday.
According to the DSCA, Chile's government asked to buy equipment and services for F-16 modernization, including 19 joint helmet-mounted cueing systems, 44 LN-260 Embedded GPS/INS and 49 multifunctional information distribution system joint tactical radios.
The deal also funds the bomb components, secure communications and precision navigation equipment, as well as engineering and logistical support.
Chile operates 44 F-16s, including 10 Block 50 models purchased in the early 2000s, as well as 36 older models bought from the Netherlands.
"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a strategic partner in South America," the DSCA's announcement said.
"The proposed sale will improve Chile's capability to meet current and future threats by modernizing its F-16 fleet, which will allow Chile to maintain sovereignty and homeland defense, increase interoperability with the United States and other partners, and deter potential adversaries. Chile will have no difficulty absorbing the upgrades into its armed forces."
Lockheed Martin would be the prime contractor on the deal.