US to sell F-35 jets to Belgium for $6.53 bn

Washington, (IANS) The US State Department has approved a sale of 34 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Conventional Take-off and Landing (CTOL) aircraft to Belgium, the Pentagon said.

According to a statement on Friday, published by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency under the US Department of Defense, the agency notified Congress of the sale for an estimated $6.53 billion, Xinhua news agency reported.

The sale would also include 38 Pratt & Whitney F-135 engines — 34 installed ones and four spares — as well as other equipment for the radar-evading high-tech fighter.

The sale will “improve the security of an ally and partner nation which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political and economic stability in Western Europe,” the statement read.

The sale of F-35s is expected to provide Belgium with “a credible defence capability to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with US forces,” said the agency.

The governments of Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and others are also potential customers of the jet.

Medaram Jathara

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