The United State has authorized an $80-million sale of Hellfire missiles and parts for the United Kingdom. Under the estimated $80m foreign military sale (FMS), the UK Government has asked for 500 Hellfire II missiles, as well as associated equipment, parts and logistical support.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency had this to say a release on Tuesday:
"The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the United Kingdom for Hellfire missiles and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $80 million."
The deal will enhance the UK's air support capability in NATO and other coalition operations, and improve US foreign and national security policies. The UK will be able to provide air support to ground forces in US Central Command's (US CENTCOM) area of responsibility. Earlier this month, France requested the supply of 200 AGM-114K1A Hellfire missiles, blast fragmentation sleeves, missile conversion and installation kits, containers, and transportation.
In 1996, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract to deliver missiles to the UK MOD as part of the UK Apache program. To this end, Lockheed Martin transferred its state-of-the-art, anti-armor missile production technology to the UK, working closely with UK based Hunting Engineering Ltd and Shorts Missile Systems. The US Army awarded a $170m contract to Lockheed Martin in July 2006 for Hellfire II missile systems. In June 2007, France selected the Hellfire II missile to equip its hélicoptère d'appui destruction (HAD) Tiger attack helicopter fleet by 2012. The letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) was signed in February 2008.
The AGM-114 II Hellfire is an air-to-ground missile developed primarily for the anti-armor role. It is a combat proven tactical missile system using multiple launch platforms based on air, sea and ground. The Hellfire II air-to-ground missile system (AGMS) provides heavy anti-armor capability for attack helicopters. It is a 100lb class air-to-ground precision weapon delivering multi-target capability and precision strike lethality. The Hellfire II missile is in service with the armed forces of the US and 16 other nations.
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