U.S. approves potential weapons sales to Mideast allies

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WASHINGTON  (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department has approved several potential weapons sales to Mideast allies including Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said.

The approvals included the possible sale of F-16 fighter jets and related equipment to Jordan at an estimated cost of $4.21 billion, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

There have been increased rocket and drone attacks on the United Arab Emirates 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 $23.7 million to upgrade its missile defense systems.

The proposed MIDS-LVT terminals will be installed on the Kingdom’s Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (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 $30 million worth of spare and repair parts for its Homing All the Way Killer (HAWK) missile defense systems.

The Pentagon’s Defense 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.

(Reporting by Mike Stone, Katharine Jackson and Rami Ayyub Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

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