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Australia defense force considers to buy U.S. helicopters

07-15-2010 14:29 BJT

CANBERRA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The United States Congress on Thursday has been formally notified that Australia may want to buy 24 advanced MH-60R Seahawk helicopters plus spares and training.

However Australia has yet to decide whether it wants the Sikorsky-Lockheed Martin MH-60R (Romeo), sourced through the U.S. Navy, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Helicopter Industries NH90 NFH sourced through Australian Aerospace.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the Romeo deal would cost an estimated 2.1 billion U.S. dollars.

That would include the 24 aircraft, 12 spare engines, communications and support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical publications, personnel training and training equipment.

"Australia is one of our most important allies in the Western Pacific," the DSCA said in a statement.

"The strategic location of this political and economic power contributes significantly to ensuring peace and economic stability in the region. Australia's efforts in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Iraq and in Afghanistan have served U.S. national security interests."

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