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Aerospace & Defense

US approves possible sale of F-16 fighters, missiles to Philippines

State Department gave green light, but no indication if deal has been reached

A U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jet takes off. The fighter is among arms that the U.S. may sell to the Philippines.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of F-16 fighter jets, as well as Sidewinder and Harpoon missiles, to the Philippines in three separate deals with a combined value of more than $2.5 billion, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

The Philippines is looking for a new multi-role fighter jet and is evaluating the F-16 and the SAAB Abs Gripen and others.

The government of the Philippines has requested to buy 10 F-16C Block 70/72 aircraft and two F-16D Block 70/72 aircraft made by Lockheed Martin Co. The export of that arms package, which includes spares and training, is valued at up to $2.43 billion, the Pentagon said.

Despite the State Department approval, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded. Often during a competition, the State Department will approve the export of weapons before a winner has been named.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency also notified Congress on Thursday of the possible sale of two missile packages to the Philippines.

One was for 12 Harpoon Air Launched Block II Missiles, 2 training missiles, spares and equipment made by Boeing and valued at up to $120 million, the Pentagon said.

Another was for 24 AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II tactical missiles, 24 training missiles and spare parts made by Raytheon Technologies and valued at up to $42.4 million, the Pentagon said.

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