The Biden administration said Thursday it has cleared a possible sale of as many as 16 F-16 fighters and related equipment to Jordan worth up to $4.21 billion.
The State Department also approved a possible additional sale to the United Arab Emirates of spares and repair parts for air defense systems that would bring its value up to $65 million, as well as a possible $23.7 million sale to Saudi Arabia for data and voice communication systems. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on Thursday of the possible foreign military sales.
Jordan wants to buy as many as 12 F-16C and four F-16D fighters, all Block 70s, as well as 21 F100 engines, either made by General Electric or Pratt & Whitney, five of which would be spare engines. Lockheed Martin in Greenville, South Carolina, will be the principal contractor for this sale.
The arms package would also include numerous weapons and systems to arm the fighters, such as six AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods, 72 LAU-129 missile rail launchers, 21 M61A1 Vulcan cannons, 100 KMU-556 Joint Direct Attack Munition tail kits for 2,000-pound GBU-31 bombs, 102 KMU-572 JDAM tail kits for 500-pound laser JDAM GBU-54 bombs, 200 MK-84 or BLU-117 or equivalent bomb bodies, 204 MK-82 or BLU-111 or equivalent bomb bodies, ammunition, smoke flares and flare cartridges.
Jordan also wants to buy 31 Link 16 Low-Volume Terminals for both aircraft and ground stations, radars, mission computers, GPS navigation systems with anti-spoofing modules and multiple other pieces of equipment.
The sale would mean fewer than 20 U.S. contractors would be assigned to Jordan for three years to provide on-site logistics support.
State said the fighter sale would help modernize Jordan’s air force and make sure its military can continue to work together effectively with U.S. and coalition forces on common goals such as fighting terrorist or other violent extremist groups.
The UAE Foreign Military Sales Order would provide more spares and repair parts for the Homing All the Way Killer, or HAWK, Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target, or Patriot, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, weapons systems, as well as additional logistics and other support.
State had already approved a deal for this equipment in a previous $30 million sale; the latest proposed amended foreign military sale case would extend that by three additional years and bring the total value to $65 million.
The sale approval comes weeks after UAE used one of its THAAD systems to intercept a ballistic missile during a Jan. 17 attack by Houthi militants in Abu Dhabi, which marked the first time THAAD is known to have been used in a military operation. The Lockheed Martin-made system destroyed a midrange ballistic missile fired at an Emirati oil facility near Al Dhafra Air Base, which hosts U.S. and French forces.
Saudi Arabia is also approved to buy 31 Block 2 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals, or MIDS-LVTs. These will be added to a previous $3 million sale of 11 Block 1 MIDS-LVTs.
The newly-purchased MIDS-LVTs are intended to be installed on THAAD platforms. The first round of MIDS-LVTs were installed on Patriot systems.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.