US approves potential weapons sales to Middle East allies including F-16s

A UAE F-16 performing aerial manoeuvres during the Dubai Airshow on Nov 14, 2021. The US has approved the potential sale of weapons, including F-16 fighters, to its Mideast allies. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States State Department has approved several potential weapons sales to Middle East allies including Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said on Thursday (Feb 3).

The approvals included the possible sale of F-16 fighter jets and related equipment to Jordan at an estimated cost of US$4.21 billion (S$5.7 billion), the Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

There have been increased rocket and drone attacks on the UAE in recent weeks.

The State Department approved Jordan's request for 12 F-16 C Block 70 fighter jets, radios targeting pods and associated munitions components including guided missile tail kits. The prime contractor for the jets is Lockheed Martin Corp.

Saudi Arabia was okayed to buy 31 Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) for as much as US$23.7 million to upgrade its missile defence systems.

The proposed MIDS-LVT terminals will be installed on the Kingdom's Terminal High Altitude Air Defence (Thaad) platforms, while the previously provided MIDS-LVT (BU1) terminals were installed on its Patriot missile defense system, the Pentagon said.

The United Arab Emirates was approved to buy US$30 million worth of spare and repair parts for its Homing All the Way Killer (Hawk) missile defence systems.

The Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on Thursday.

Despite approval by the State Department, the notifications do not indicate that contracts have been signed or that negotiations have concluded.

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