WASHINGTON — In a trio of notifications Friday afternoon, the U.S. State Department cleared more than a billion dollars in potential weapon sales for three of America’s military allies.
Canada has been cleared to purchase $387 million worth of MK 54 lightweight torpedo conversion kits, South Korea $313.9 million in SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, and Japan $313 million worth of AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles.
The notifications, posted on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, top $1.017 billion in potential sales. Raytheon is the primary contractor on all three of the potential sales.
As with all DSCA notifications to Congress, the sales must be approved on Capitol Hill and go through negotiations with the supplier, which can lead to changed quantities and dollar figures in the final agreements.
South Korea’s request covers “up to” 94 SM-2 Block IIIB missiles, along with associated equipment and training, including 12 MK 97 MOD 0 guidance sections. South Korea’s military already uses the SM-2, and is in the process of building more missile-defense capable destroyers that use the weapon.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by meeting the legitimate security and defense needs of one of the closest allies in the INDOPACOM Theater. The Republic of Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in that region,” the DSCA notification reads. “The proposed sale will provide a defensive capability while enhancing interoperability with U.S. and other allied forces.”
Primary work will be done at Raytheon’s Tucson, Arizona, facility. There are industrial offsets required by Seoul, but those have yet to be finalized.
Japan’s request covers 160 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs, one AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM guidance section and associated support. Although not specified by DSCA, the AIM-120C can be equipped on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, of which Japan recently increased its planned procurement.
“It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability,” the DSCA notification reads. "The proposed sale of these missiles will provide Japan a critical air defense capability to assist in defending the Japanese homeland and U.S. personnel stationed there.”
Japan has been stocking up on high-end munitions, having previously requested $1.774 billion since Oct. 1, according to DSCA notifications, including a previous tranche of AMRAAMs.
As with the South Korea deal, primary work will be done at Raytheon’s Tucson facility, and there will be future offsets defined.
Canada’s request covers 425 MK 54 lightweight torpedo conversion kits, along with associated support equipment. The kits will be used to upgrade Canada’s existing MK 46 torpedoes.
“The MK 54 torpedo is designed to be easily upgraded from the existing MK 46 torpedo,” the DSCA notification reads. “Canada plans to utilize MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes on its Royal Canadian Navy's Halifax class ships, the Royal Canadian Air Force's CP-140 Aurora Aircraft, and the CH-148 Maritime Helicopters. Canada will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”
Primary work will be done at Raytheon’s Portsmouth, Rhode Island, facility, and it will require some form of offset, in accordance with Canada’s Industrial and Technological Benefits policy.
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.