U.S. eyes potential $375 million helicopter sale to Canada

Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:39pm EDT
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By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration said Wednesday it was tentatively planning to sell Canada six Boeing Co CH-47D heavy-lift transport helicopters that could boost the ability to operate together in the U.S.-declared global war on terrorism.

The proposed sale, including 12 Honeywell International Inc T-55 turbine engines, plus two spare engines and related gear, could be worth up to $375 million if all options are exercised, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice to Congress.

"Canada needs these helicopters to enhance its capabilities in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)," said the notice dated Monday and made public on Wednesday.

"Having the same configuration as the U.S. would greatly contribute to Canada's military capability by making it a more sustainable coalition force to support GWOT," the Pentagon said.

It said Canadian deployments in support of peacekeeping and humanitarian operations have made a "significant impact to global political and economic stability and have served U.S. national security interests."

The agency also notified Congress of a possible government-to-government sale to Australia of General Dynamics Corp modular artillery charge systems and Raytheon Co Excalibur projectiles plus related equipment valued at up to $58 million.

"The proposed sale will enhance Australia's defensive capabilities and increase interoperability with United States and multi-national forces supporting coalition operations," the Pentagon said.

The notice of a potential sale is required by law. It does not mean a deal has been concluded.

(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)