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Turkey to buy U.S. military heavy-lift copters worth up to $1.2 billion

17 December 2009 [18:53] - TODAY.AZ
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration has agreed to sell 14 CH-47F heavy-lift transport helicopters worth up to $1.2 billion to the Turkish military, and has formally asked for Congress’ permission.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, or DSCA, the Pentagon body coordinating weapons sales, last week notified Congress of the potential sale in a letter.

“The government of Turkey has requested a possible sale of 14 CH-47F Chinook helicopters, 32 T55-GA-714A turbine engines, 28 AN/ARC-201E Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems, 14 AN/APR-39A(V)1 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, support equipment, special tools and test equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, site survey, personnel training and training equipment, ferry services, U.S. government and contractor technical and logistics support services and other related elements of logistics support,” the DSCA wrote. “The estimated cost is $1.2 billion.”

Turkish procurement officials welcomed the move. The CH-47F Chinook is produced by the Boeing Company’s plant in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

The DSCA said Congress was notified Dec. 7. Unless members of the Senate, Congress’ upper chamber, formally object to the sale within 15 days, permission will be automatically obtained. Such objections are extremely rare after a notification is given by the DSCA.

“Turkey is a partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in the region. It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist [this] NATO ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability that will contribute to an acceptable military balance in the area. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives,” the DSCA wrote.

“The proposed sale will improve Turkey’s capability to meet current and future requirements for troop movement, medical evacuation, aircraft recovery, parachute drop, search and rescue, disaster relief, fire-fighting and heavy construction. Turkey will use these helicopters to strengthen its homeland defense, deter regional threats and improve humanitarian and disaster mobilization and response,” it added, noting, “The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

Assuming permission from Congress comes by Dec. 22, Turkey's procurement office, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, and the Pentagon will need to conclude a contract with the details of the sale.

The 14 CH-47F Chinooks will be the first heavy-lift helicopters in the Turkish Army’s inventory. Developed in the late 1960s, the Chinooks have been exported to Australia, Canada, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

The helicopters have been successfully operated in combat conditions in several wars and armed conflicts.

/Hurriyet Daily News/

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