WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department on Wednesday cleared four potential foreign military sales packages, which combine for an estimated price tag of over $6.9 billion.
The four packages, if approved by Congress, would involve AH-64E Apache helicopters for Morocco ($4.25 billion), C-130J aircraft for New Zealand ($1.4 billion), naval guns for India ($1.02 billion), and jammers for improvised explosive devices to Australia ($245 million).
The notifications were posted on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. DSCA notifications are not final sales; once cleared by Congress, the sales enter negotiations, during which quantities and costs can shift.
The largest package, Morocco’s Apache request, is the first from that country for fiscal 2020 after dropping six FMS requests in FY19, to the tune of $7.27 billion. Read more about the Apache request here.
New Zealand’s request would cover five C-130J transport aircraft, manufactured by Lockheed Martin. That nation currently operates the older C-130H aircraft, so it’s familiar with the airframe.
“This proposed sale will provide the capability to support national, United Nations, and other coalition operations,” the DSCA notification reads. “This purchase also includes sensors and performance improvements that will assist New Zealand during extensive maritime surveillance and reconnaissance as well as improve its search and rescue capability. Additionally, the extra cargo capacity and aircraft performance will greatly increase New Zealand's Antarctic mission capabilities while simultaneously increasing safety margins.”
India’s request covers as many as 13 MK 45 5-inch/62-caliber (MOD 4) naval guns, along with 3,500 rounds of D349 Projectile ammunition. Those weapons will be used for “antisurface warfare and anti-air defense missions,” according to DSCA. The program will be managed by BAE Systems, with some sort of industrial offset to be arranged later.
Australia, meanwhile, wants up to 850 Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device Electronic Warfare Increment 1 Block 1 systems, or JCREW I1B1 for short. These are anti-IED jammer systems; the DSCA announcement says Australia is “interested in procuring the dismounted and mounted variants that have a modular, open architecture and are upgradeable in order to maintain capability against evolving global threats.” Those systems are produced by Northrop Grumman.
The start of FY20 has been good for FMS requests. Since the fiscal year started on Oct. 1, there have been 13 requests cleared by the State Department, with a total estimated value of $13.439 billion in potential sales. The head of the DSCA, Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, has said he hopes a series of reforms will help keep sales strong.
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.