South Korea cleared for $2.6B in defense sales

By Justin Doubleday / September 13, 2018 at 2:48 PM

The State Department has approved two major defense sales to South Korea, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

State approved the possible foreign military sale of six P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, as well as the potential FMS of 64 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhanced interceptors, according to two separate DSCA statements released today.

The estimated cost of the P-8A sale is $2.1 billion, while the PAC-3 deal could be worth $501 million, according to DSCA.

South Korean forces have operated the P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft for over 25 years and should have no difficulty transitioning to the P-8 aircraft, the statement notes. Meanwhile, South Korea will use the PAC-3 interceptors to "improve its missile defense capability, defend its territorial integrity and deter threats to regional stability," according to DSCA.

The announcement of the potential sales to South Korea comes days after Japan was approved to buy U.S. surveillance aircraft. Last August, in response to North Korea's long-range missile tests, President Trump announced South Korea and Japan would be able to buy "substantially increased" amounts of U.S. weapons.