By Mike Stone
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of more than $2 billion worth of arms and equipment, including Patriot missiles for the Netherlands, cruise missiles for Australia, and oceanographic observation equipment for the United Arab Emirates, the Pentagon said on Thursday.
The sale comes as governments around the world are watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and grow more willing to invest in weapons systems.
The package for the Netherlands would include 96 Patriot ballistic missiles and related equipment, the Pentagon said. If finalized, Raytheon Technologies would be the prime contractor for the deal, which could be worth as much as $1.2 billion.
Australia was approved to buy 80 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles, or extended-range cruise missiles. Made by Lockheed Martin Corp, the missiles can be launched from F/A-18 Super Hornets and F-35s. That deal could be worth as much as $235 million.
The United Arab Emirates was approved to buy an oceanographic observation equipment system which includes multisite sensors and remote data collection facilities for a total cost of $206 million. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for that system.
The State Department also authorized the sale of as much as $397 million worth of various Raytheon- and Lockheed-made munitions to Kuwait.
The weapons include air-to-air missiles, bombs, and kits that make bombs more precise and lethal.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on Thursday.
Despite approval by the State Department, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.
(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)