US State Department approves sale of Black Hawk choppers to Latvia

The US State Department has approved an arms sales package worth $200 million to the Baltic state of Latvia as part of NATO’s eastward expansion

According to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the contract has an estimated price tag of $200 million that covers four UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 10 engines and associated equipment including embedded Global Positioning Systems

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally,” the DSCA statement said

“The helicopters, it said, 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 sale of these UH-60 helicopters to Latvia will significantly increase its capability to provide troop lift, border security, anti-terrorist, medical evacuation, search and rescue, re-supply/external lift, and combat support in all weather,” the statement noted

The arms deal must now be cleared by the Senate, where the total quantities as well as the estimated price may change from the original DSCA announcement

On Friday, the Swedish government also approved the purchase of Patriot missile system from the United States