US State Department approves sale of Black Hawk choppers to Latvia
Story Code : 742380
According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the contract has an estimated price tag of $200 million that covers four UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 10 engines and associated equipment including embedded Global Positioning Systems.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally,” the DSCA statement said.
“The helicopters, it said, will allow for interoperability with US and NATO forces in rapid response to a variety of missions, and quick positioning of troops with minimal helicopter assets.
"The sale of these UH-60 helicopters to Latvia will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, and combat support in all weather,” the statement noted.
The arms deal must now be cleared by the Senate, where the total quantities as well as the estimated price may change from the original DSCA announcement.
On Friday, the Swedish government also approved the purchase of Patriot missile system from the United States.
The deal – with a value of 10 billion Swedish crowns ($1.13 billion) – would include four firing systems and two types of missiles as well as other equipment and training.
Sweden, not a NATO member, had previously expressed concerns over what it described as worsening security situation in the Baltic Sea region over the past few years.
NATO member states, largely made up of Western European countries, have significantly increased their military activities near Russia’s western borders in recent years to counter what they claim as "Russian threats."
Russia has held several military drills to maintain its readiness in light of increased activities of the US-led military alliance under its nose. NATO countries have pointed to the drills as what they call signs of Russian aggression.
Moscow has repeatedly warned of consequences of NATO’s military buildup near its western borders, saying the move would provoke conflicts and cause military and political instability in the region.