US gives preliminary approval for $3B surveillance plane sale to Japan

US gives preliminary approval for $3B surveillance plane sale to Japan
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The U.S. government has given preliminary approval for the sale of nine E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft to Japan for an estimated $3.14 billion, according to the Pentagon.

The Northrop Grumman-made airborne early warning and control planes, used for sea and air surveillance, would be added to Japan’s existing E-2C Hawkeye fleet.

The new aircraft would work alongside Japan’s F-35 joint strike fighters in the region as China and North Korea have continued to bolster their military capabilities.

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“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States,” according to a Monday statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which manages foreign military sales.

“Japan is one of the major political and economic powers in East Asia and the Western Pacific and is a key partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in that region. It is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability,” the agency said.

The sale would include the nine E-2D aircraft, as well as 28 engines, radio systems, radars navigation control and display systems, global positioning systems and other equipment.

The proposed sale “will improve Japan's ability to effectively provide homeland defense,” providing “situational awareness of air and naval activity in the Pacific region,” the statement said.

A final deal has yet to be signed, and Congress must first approve the sale.

Japan is an active buyer of U.S. military systems, with $19.6 billion in current foreign military sales cases, according to numbers released by the DSCA this summer.

Over the past few months, however, the United States and Japan have been at odds over trade policy, with President Trump threatening to impose 25 percent tariffs on imports of automobiles from Europe and other nations including Japan.