U.S. Approves $1.94 billion M1A1 Tank Structures, Chinook Helicopters Sale to Australia

 The U.S. State Department approved two potential arms deals to Australia, totaling $1.94 billion on Thursday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSA) said in a release.

In the first, the United States would sell 160 M1A1 tank structures to build M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks, M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicles and other vehicles, altogether worth $1.685 billion.The heavy armed combat systems deal would enhance the "lethality, survivability, and interoperability of the Australian Army" and "strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats."The principal contractors for the deal would be General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems Leonardo DRS and Honeywell Aerospace.

The second deal involves the sale of four CH-47F cargo helicopters and related equipment worth $259 million, according to a DSCA press release.The aircraft would be provided from U.S. Army stock, and "will improve Australia's capability to meet current and future threats, increase operational capabilities, strengthen its homeland defense and promote military cooperation," the announcement said.

"Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific," the announcements said. "The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability."U.S. Arms sales to  Australia has  seen a huge jump in recent years and coincides  with  Chinese  aggressiveness in the South China Sea and the South Pacific.

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