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US approves $2.6 billion sale to South Korea of P-8A patrol planes and Patriot missiles

The U.S. State Department has approved the sale to South Korea of six P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and 64 Patriot missiles at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

The proposed $2.1 billion sale of six P-8A Poseidons includes a wide range of equipment and support, including missile warning sensors, radio systems, navigation systems, radars and counter measures, DSCA said in a Thursday, September 13 release.

South Korea is “one of the closest allies in the INDOPACOM Theater,” the release said, adding that “the proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing Korea’s naval capabilities to provide national defense and significantly contribute to coalition operations.”

The release noted that South Korea has operated P-3 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft for more than 25 years, and that experience means it will have no difficulty transitioning to the P-8, which will provide a maritime patrol capability for the next 30 years.

The prime contractor will be Boeing. Sales of P-8s contributed to Boeing’s 9 percent increase in defense revenue for second quarter.

In July, New Zealand said it would purchase four P-8 Poseidons for around $1.61 billion, and the U.S. Navy ordered three additional P-8As in May for $416 million.

Last December, Boeing was awarded a $1.2 billion contract to produce 10 P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the U.S. Navy and United Kingdom. Seven will go to the U.S. Navy and the United Kingdom will purchase the other three for the Royal Air Force.

Patriot PAC-3 missiles

In a second release, DSCA said the State Department had approved a South Korea request to buy 64 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement Missiles for an estimated cost of $501 million.

Patriot is a mobile air-defence system designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, low-flying cruise missiles and aircraft.

That sale also includes are two PAC-MSE test missiles, range and test programs, spare parts, training, and other related elements of logistics and program support.

South Korea will use the missiles to “defend its territorial integrity and deter threats to regional stability,” the release said, adding that the sale would “increase the defensive capabilities of [South Korea’s] Military to guard against hostile aggression and shield the allies who train and operate within South Korea’s borders.”

The prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin.

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