The Pentagon announced on Thursday that the State Department has approved two possible arms deals with South Korea, worth $2.6 billion.
South Korea “is one of the closest allies in the INDOPACOM Theater,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, referring to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.
According to The Hill, the first sale is worth $2.1 billion and includes six P-8A Patrol Aircraft and related equipment.
South Korea for the last 25 years used P-3 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft; the new aircraft will modernize and sustain their maritime surveillance capability for another 30 years, the notice says.
“The proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by enhancing Korea’s naval capabilities to provide national defense and significantly contribute to coalition operations.”
The second sale is for 64 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles used in the Patriot missile defense system.
South Korea “will use the Patriot missile system to improve its missile defense capability, defend its territorial integrity and deter threats to regional stability. The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the [South Korean] military to guard against hostile aggression and shield the allies who train and operate within South Korea’s borders.”
Boeing is the prime contractor on the P-8 aircraft sale, and Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the Patriot sale.
The deal comes at a time when President Donald Trump is still attempting to succeed in denuclearizing North Korea.