WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department has ok’d the potential sale of eight MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to Mexico.

The potential sale, announced Thursday by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, has a potential pricetag of $1.2 billion. DSCA announcements do not represent final sales; the Senate must sign off on the agreement, and then formal negotiations can begin, during which details often change.

In addition to the eight Sikorsky-made MH-60R platforms, the deal includes 20 T-700 GE 401 C engines, 16 APS-153(V) multi-mode radars, 30 AN/AVS-9 night vision devices and a collecting of other radios and sensors. The deal also covers a package of armaments, including a thousand AN/SSQ-36/53/62 Sonobuoys, 10 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, 38 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) II rockets, 30 Mk -54 Lightweight Hybrid Torpedoes, 12 M-240D machine guns and 12 GAU-21 machine guns.

“Mexico has been a strong partner in combating organized crime and drug trafficking organizations. The sale of these aircraft to Mexico will significantly increase and strengthen its maritime capabilities,” the DSCA notification reads. “Mexico intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its existing naval and maritime support of national security requirements and in its efforts to combat criminal organizations.”

This is the second arms request for Mexico to be cleared by the State Department this year, following January’s request for almost $100 million in armaments.

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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