WASHINGTON — The State Department on Wednesday approved two major sales of aircraft to foreign militaries, including F-16s for Slovakia and CH-47 helicopters for Spain.
Slovakia hasn’t announced a winner for its fighter jet competition yet, but it’s not unheard of for the State Department to preemptively approve a sale in order to help expedite a future deal.
The weapons package, worth an estimated $2.91 billion, could contain as many as 14 Block 70/72 F-16Vs, up to 16 General Electric F110 or Pratt &Whitney F100 engines and associated guns, radars, electronic warfare gear, and communications and navigation systems.
It could also include a large number of munitions, including 30 AIM-120 air-to-air missiles, 100 AIM-9X air-to air missiles and 150 Joint Direct Attack Munition guidance kits.
Slovakia is aiming to replace its current fleet of 12 MiG-29s with 14 new fighter jets, either Lockheed Martin’s F-16 or Saab’s Gripen. Reuters reported in February that the government intends to make a decision after the defense ministry submits a report in June detailing the two options.
A deal with Spain for CH-47 cargo helicopters also took another step forward, as the State Department approved the sale of 17 new helicopters for about $1.3 billion.
The deal includes CH-47s modified to Spain’s requirements, 21 common missile warning systems and a variety of communications equipment.
The department also signed off on a $500 million contractor logistics support package for the United Kingdom’s MQ-9 Reapers made by General Atomics.
Valerie Insinna is Defense News' air warfare reporter. She previously worked the Navy/congressional beats for Defense Daily, which followed almost three years as a staff writer for National Defense Magazine. Prior to that, she worked as an editorial assistant for the Tokyo Shimbun’s Washington bureau.