The US State Department has approved the possible US$31.2 million foreign military sale of more than 700 guided missile conversion kits to the United Kingdom.
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The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has advised the US Congress of the deal for 768 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System-II (APKWS-II) conversion kits, support equipment, parts and engineering support on 28 April.
APKWS-II kits are used to convert unguided rockets into precision-guided munitions with the addition of a laser guidance system. The completed guided rockets are reportedly compatible with AH-64E Apache attack helicopters operated by the British Army.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a NATO ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe,” said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement on 28 April.
“The proposed sale will improve the United Kingdom’s capability to meet current and future threats by ensuring its aviation forces’ interoperability with United States and other allied forces as well as its ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest.
“By deploying the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System, the United Kingdom would contribute to global readiness and enhance the capability for US forces operating globally alongside them.”
BAE Systems has been identified as the principal contractor for the deal. Five US government representatives and five contractor representatives will travel to the UK for approximately a five-year period to support delivery and integration.
The US Department of Defense has also announced a US$12 million contract modification to support the delivery and installation of retrofit kits for P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft operated by the US Navy and Australian government.
The increment 3 retrofit kits feature software updates, parts support changes and reportedly the ability to carry Harpoon Block II all-weather anti-ship missiles. Work is expected to be completed in April 2025.
The Royal Australian Air Force currently commands 12 P-8A aircraft operated by personnel from No. 11 and No. 292 Squadrons at RAAF Base Edinburgh.