The US government has cleared the possible sale of six Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and related equipment to Lithuania, and three Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes to France.
The proposed Lithuania sale comes at an estimated price tag of $380 million, according to a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notice to Congress.
The purchase will include 14 GE Aviation T700 engines, communications and navigation equipment, and logistical support.
It will “support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally that is an important force for ensuring peace and stability in Europe”, the notice states.
It is also expected to “significantly increase” Lithuania’s capabilities such as troop lift, border security, search and rescue, as well as combat support in all weather conditions.
“These UH-60 helicopters 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 DSCA adds.
Vilnius selected the Sikorsky type last October, after a market analysis concluded it was the “optimum” aircraft. It will replace the country’s fleet of ageing Mil Mi-8s, with deliveries expected to commence in 2024.
The DSCA says that through the proposed sale, Vilnius will “modernise and expand its armed forces to provide multi-mission support in its region and combat terrorism threats”.
The proposed E-2D sale to France, which also covers 10 Rolls-Royce T56 engines, radar and navigation equipment as well as logistics and equipment support, will cost about $2 billion.
France is an existing operator of the E-2C, with three in its fleet. It operates the type from its sole aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle.
“The proposed sale will improve France’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing its naval air forces with a sustainable follow-on capability to their current, legacy E-2C Hawkeye aircraft,” says the DSCA. “The E-2D aircraft will continue and expand French naval aviation capabilities and maintain interoperability with US naval forces.”