US eyes $3.2 billion in potential arms deals with Seoul, Beirut

US eyes $3.2 billion in potential arms deals with Seoul, Beirut
A US Navy ship

WASHINGTON - The State Department notified Congress on Tuesday that it has approved potential arms deals worth nearly $2.4 billion (S$3.2 billion) with South Korea and Lebanon, including three Aegis Shipboard Combat Systems for Seoul and six close air support planes for Beirut.

The two separate notifications were to advise Congress of potential sales but do not mean an actual deal has been finalized.

The department said it had approved a $1.91 billion potential arms sale to South Korea. The deal would include three Aegis Shipboard Combat Systems, three vertical launch systems and related equipment, training and support.

The principal contractors would be Lockheed Martin Corp's Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems, Raytheon Co and General Dynamics Corp.

The Aegis system would improve the ability of South Korean navy ships to defend themselves. The system is a central part of the South Korean navy's effort to upgrade its shipboard combat and ballistic missile defence capability, the department said.

The department approved a possible sale of six A-29 Super Tucano close air support planes plus engines and related equipment, support and training. The deal is worth an estimated $462 million. The principal contractors would be privately held Sierra Nevada Corp., BAE Systems Plc and Pratt & Whitney.

The plane would give Lebanon a greater ability to defend its ground troops and deal with internal and border security threats, the department said.

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