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US approves F-35 weapons sale to Aus

australia jsf
F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters A35-001 (closest) and A35-002 during the first trans-Pacific flight from Luke Air Force Base, USA to RAAF Base Amberley, Australia. Image via Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.

The US State Department has cleared a potential sale of weapons to Australia to enhance its F-35A Joint Strike Fighter for an estimated cost of $815 million.

The US State Department has cleared a potential sale of weapons to Australia to enhance its F-35A Joint Strike Fighter for an estimated cost of $815 million.

The deal primarily centers around selling the GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb Increment II (SDB II) to Australia.

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The proposed sale would cover up to 3,900 SDB II weapons, up to 30 GBU-53/B Guided Test Vehicles (GTV) and up to 60 GBU-53/B Captive Carry Reliability Trainers (CCRT). The deal would also include maintenance, transportation and support for the weapons.

The principal contractor will be Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona.

In a statement, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, "The proposed sale of SDB II supports and complements the ongoing sale of the F-35A to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). This capability will strengthen combined operations, particularly air to ground strike missions in all-weather conditions, and increase interoperability between the United States and the RAAF. Australia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

"The proposed sale will improve Australia’s F-35 survivability and will enhance its capability to deter global threats, strengthen its homeland defence and co-operate in coalition defense initiatives."

Australia is procuring 72 JSFs with the first planned for delivery in 2018 and entering service in 2020.

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The notice of the potential sale does not mean the sale has been concluded.

 

 

US approves F-35 weapons sale to Aus
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