WASHINGTON — It was a happy Independence Day for American defense companies, with the U.S. State Department announcing Monday it has approved almost $7.5 billion in potential foreign military sales to five different countries.
The potential sales, announced on the website of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, involve UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for Lithuania, E-2D Hawkeye aircraft for France, MV-22 Osprey aircraft for Indonesia, Stryker infantry vehicles for Argentina and aviation fuel for Israel.
DSCA announcements mean that the State Department has decided the potential FMS cases meet its standards, but is not a guarantee the sales will to happen in their announced forms. Once approved by Congress, the foreign customer begins to negotiate on price and quantity, both of which can change during the final negotiations.
Israel: The biggest price tag, at $3 billion, is 990 million gallons of petroleum-based fuel for Israel, including JP-8 aviation fuel, diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline. Vendors will be selected “using a competitive bid process through Defense Logistics Agency Energy for supply source,” according to the announcement. Israel operates the American-made F-35I Joint Strike Fighter, among other aviation assets.
France: The French request to purchase three E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft comes with an estimated price tag of $2 billion. The aircraft is to replace France’s legacy E-2C Hawkeye fleet. In addition to the aircraft, the country wants 10 T-56-427A engines, three AN/APY-9 radar assemblies, four AN/ALQ-217 electronic support measure systems and one Joint Mission Planning System, among other technologies.
“The E-2D aircraft will continue and expand French naval aviation capabilities and maintain interoperability with U.S. naval forces,” the DSCA announcement read. “As a current E-2C operator, France will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and support into its armed forces.”
Primary work will be done at Northrop Grumman’s Melbourne, Florida, location. There will be industrial offsets required in the future, but those have not been defined at this point. This is the first DSCA notification of an arms sale to France since at least September 2017, as the country prefers to rely on its domestic arms industry.
Indonesia: Indonesia was cleared to spend an estimated $2 billion to buy eight MV-22 Block C Osprey aircraft. Also included are 24 AE 1107C Rolls-Royce engines; 20 each of the AN/AAQ-27 forward-Looking infrared radars, AN/AAR-47 missile warning systems and AN/APR-39 radar warning receivers; and 20 each of the M-240-D 7.64mm machine guns and GAU-21 machine guns, among other gear.
The potential sale is announced at a time when the U.S. is seeking to beef up both its presence and the capabilities of partner nations in the Pacific in order to blunt Chinese interests in the region. This is the first DSCA notification of an arms sale to Indonesia since at least September 2017.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of an important regional partner that is a force for political stability, and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region. It is vital to U.S. national interest to assist Indonesia in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability,” the DSCA notification read, adding the sale will “enhance Indonesia’s humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities and support amphibious operations.”
Primary work will be done by Bell Textron in Amarillo, Texas, and Boeing in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.
Lithuania: The Baltic nation of Lithuania plans to spend $380 million to procure six UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. The standard U.S. configuration requested includes 14 T700-GE-701D engines, 12 M240H machine guns, night vision goggles, a number of radios and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
“The proposed sale of these UH-60 helicopters to Lithuania will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, combat support in all weather,” per the DSCA. “These UH-60 helicopters will allow for interoperability with U.S. and NATO forces in rapid response to a variety of missions and quick positioning of troops with minimal helicopter assets. Lithuania intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize and expand its armed forces to provide multi-mission support in its region and combat terrorism threats.”
The Black Hawks will replace the nation’s Soviet-made Mi-8 fleet. The U.S. is helping fund Lithuania’s purchase through the European Recapitalization Incentive Program, or ERIP, a tool developed in 2018 alongside U.S. European Command to speed up the process of getting allied nations off Russian gear.
The State Department kicked in $30 million of ERIP funding to help complete that deal. So far, three of the eight countries to receive ERIP funds have used them to purchase Black Hawk helicopters.
Work will primarily be done at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Connecticut, location and General Electric Aircraft Company in Lynn, Massachusetts.
Argentina: The South American nation seeks 27 M1126 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles, with an estimated $100 million price tag. In addition to the vehicles themselves comes a pile of equipment, including 27 M2 Flex .50-caliber machine guns, radios and smoke grenade launchers. In addition, the vehicles come with special de-processing services outside of the continental United States as well as contractor-provided training.
“The proposed sale will improve Argentina’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing operational capabilities and force availability,” per DSCA. “Argentina will use the Stryker vehicles to conduct stability operations in support of disaster relief and international peace keeping obligations.”
Primary work will occur at the General Dynamics Land Systems facility in Anniston, Alabama. This marks Argentina’s second FMS request of the fiscal year, after a December request for $70 million worth of support for its aging P-3C fleet.
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.