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State Department approves $1.94B in military sales to Australia

A CH-47F Chinook conducts a mission in northern Afghanistan in this June 2011 photo. On Thursday the State Department approved a potential sale of four CH-47F helicopters to the government of Australia. Photo by Jonathan David Chandler/U.S. Army 
A CH-47F Chinook conducts a mission in northern Afghanistan in this June 2011 photo. On Thursday the State Department approved a potential sale of four CH-47F helicopters to the government of Australia. Photo by Jonathan David Chandler/U.S. Army 

April 29 (UPI) -- The State Department approved two potential arms deals to Australia, totaling $1.94 billion, Thursday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.

Under the first deal, valued at $1.685 billion the United States would sell 160 M1A1 tank structures to build M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles and other vehicles, according to the DSCA's press release.

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According to the DSCA, the heavy armed combat systems deal would enhance the "lethality, survivability, and interoperability of the Australian Army" and "strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats."

The principal contractors for the deal would be General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems Leonardo DRS and Honeywell Aerospace.

The second deal, valued at $259 million, involves the sale of four CH-47F cargo helicopters and related equipment to the Australian government, according to a DSCA press release.

The aircraft would be provided from U.S. Army stock, and "will improve Australia's capability to meet current and future threats, increase operational capabilities, strengthen its homeland defense and promote military cooperation," the announcement said.

The DSCA's press releases contained identical statements explaining why the deals supported U.S. foreign policy objectives.

"Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific," the announcements said. "The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability."

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