The US State Department has approved a potential sale of 12 MH-60R Seahawk multi-mission helicopters with support to the Republic of Korea.

The possible foreign military sale is expected to cost around $800m.

Subject to congressional approval, the deal will include equipment for the helicopters, such as 13 APS-153(V) multi-mode radars, 25 T-700-GE-401C engines, 12 airborne low-frequency sonar systems (ALFS) and 13 AN/AAS-44C(V) multi-spectral targeting systems.

Korea has also requested four M-240D crew-served guns, four GAU-21 crew-served guns, and 1,000 AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys.

Additionally, the sale will include AN/ARC-210 RT-1990A(C) radios with communications security (COMSEC), AN/ARC-220 high-frequency radios, AN/APX-123 identification friend or foe (IFF) transponders, spare engine containers and repair parts.

The programme will also have engineering, technical and logistics support services, as well as associated logistics and programme support elements.

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In a statement, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the US by meeting the legitimate security and defence needs of one of the closest allies in the INDOPACOM Theater.

“The Republic of Korea is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and a key partner of the US in ensuring peace and stability in that region. It is vital to US national interests to assist the Republic of Korea in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defence capability.”

The agency stated that the procurement of the helicopters with the support package will bolster the Korean Navy’s anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

This sale will also improve the Navy’s ability to undertake vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay missions.

The enhanced capability is set to boost the country’s homeland defence and serve as a deterrent to regional threats.

Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems is the prime contractor for the programme.

The MH-60R Seahawk helicopter is built by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky division.

In May, Korea launched a bid for the procurement of 12 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters.

The country is expected to choose between Leonardo’s multi-mission helicopters and the MH-60R helicopters.