Home Asia Pacific US clears $1.7B in foreign torpedo, missile system sales in single day

US clears $1.7B in foreign torpedo, missile system sales in single day

US Marines HIMARS launch in ANDØYA, Norway
Illustration: US defense ministry file photo of a HIMARS launch

The US State Department has approved potential foreign military sales of torpedoes, missiles and missile systems to four countries totaling $1.7 billion.

While all of the sales were green-lighted on July 15 and the Congress was notified, this does not mean that the sales have been concluded and contract values and quantities as revealed are subject to change.

These potential sales include M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) for Estonia, MK 54 lightweight torpedoes for the Republic of Korea, AIM-120 C-8 or D air to air missiles for Norway, as well as defense technical assistance for Taiwan.

HIMARS for Estonia

The sale of M142 HIMARS launchers to Estonia has an estimated cost of up to $500 million and would see the Baltic country, which shares borders with Russia, receive six systems.

Estonia also requested to buy 36 M30A2 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) alternative warhead (AW) missile pods, 36 M31A2 GMLRS unitary high explosive (HE) units, as well as 36 XM403 Extended Range GMLRS (ER GMLRS) and 36 ER GMLRS unitary pods.

Also included in the $500 million price tag would be up to 18 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missile pods, in addition to practice rockets, ruggedized laptops, training equipment, and other related elements of program and logistic support.

“The proposed sale will contribute to Estonia’s military goals of updating capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other allies. Estonia intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces and expand its capability to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in an announcement.

The principal contractor on the sale would be Lockheed Martin.

Photo: Raytheon

AMRAAMs for Norway

The most valuable of the announced sales would be the delivery of AIM-120 C-8 or D medium-range air-to-air missiles to Norway.

The $950 million purchase includes up to 205 AIM-120 D-series AMRAAMs, 60 AIM-120 C-8 or D-series AMRAAMs, and four 4 AIM-120D AMRAAM guidance sections.

Also included are captive air training missiles, integration support and test equipment, and other related services.

Norway will use the Raytheon-built missile on its F-35A fifth-generation fighter jet fleet, providing them with an air-to-air capability.

Lightweight torpedoes for South Korea

The third sale announced by the State Department envisions the delivery of MK 54 lightweight torpedoes to South Korea for an estimated $130 million.

The Republic of Korea requested 31 MK 54 torpedoes that would be employed by the South Korean Navy’s MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

South Korea is buying 12 MH-60R Seahawks under a $447 million contract with Sikorsky from 2021.

“The proposed sale will improve the ROK’s capability to meet current and future threats by defending its homeland and US personnel stationed there. The ROK will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces,” DSCA said.

The final approved military sale would include spare and repair parts for tanks and combat vehicles for Taiwan.

DSCA said the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) was approved for $108 million worth of “blanket order contractor technical assistance support.”

The US, like the majority of countries, has no official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China considers one of its break-away provinces. However, the US is bound by law to provide the island with defense articles for self protection.

“The proposed sale will contribute to the sustainment of the recipient’s vehicles, small arms, combat weapon systems, and logistical support items, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats,” the DSCA said.