By John T. Bennett - 11/18/11 10:01 PM EST
The Lockheed Martin-made war planes formerly were U.S. Air Force jets. Congress should be notified of the sale in early 2012, with delivery to Indonesia slated for July 2014. The transaction was made possible by a grant approved in August 2011, the White House said.
The arms sale is the latest move by the U.S. to beef up its military posture, and that of its allies, in the Asia-Pacific region.
The announcement of the Brunei Blackhawk sale came one day after President Obama announced that up to 2,500 U.S. Marines will be stationed in Australia. The agreement with Australia also will lead to more U.S. Navy ships visiting the island nation, and more U.S. Air Force war planes rotating there.
Pentagon spokesmen said Wednesday that the move is not aimed at China. For his part, Obama, speaking Wednesday Down Under, said Washington will send clear messages to Beijing when it feels China is acting irresponsibly.