The US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) has approved a potential $700 million foreign military sale of 12 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters to Tunisia.
Congress, which will now decide whether to authorise the deal, was notified of the DSCA’s approval on 23 July.
Included within the price are spare parts, training and logistical support. Weapon systems – notably Hydra rockets and Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missiles – are also featured, as are electro-optical infrared laser designators, night vision goggles, communications systems and laser, missile and radar warning systems.
“The proposed sale will improve Tunisia’s capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defence, as well as support counter-terrorism operations," the DSCA says, describing Tunisia as "a friendly country in North Africa".
The rotorcraft will be used for border patrol, quick reaction and medical evacuation for Tunisia’s air and ground forces, and in counter-terrorism and border security operations.
Deployment of three additional US government and five contractor representatives to Tunisia may be required to support delivery and training for up to five years, according to the DSCA.
In addition, on 14 July US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel signed documentation alongside Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah – his equivalent in Qatar – for the latter’s potential purchase of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.
The deal is valued at $11 billion, including the purchase of Patriot and Javelin weapon systems.
A sale to Qatar would "help improve our bilateral co-operation across a range of military operations", the US Department of Defense says.