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Proposed U.S. Arms Export Agreements From January 1, 1997 to December 31, 1997

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Contact: Jeff AbramsonNon-Resident Senior Fellow for Arms Control and Conventional Arms Transfers, [email protected]

Updated: January 1998

The Pentagon notified Congress in 1997 of an estimated $10.617 billion in proposed, government-to-government, conventional arms transfer agreements with 18 countries, including Taiwan.

The United States conducts government-to-government transfers through the Defense Department's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. Not all notified sales result in final transactions. Under the 1976 Arms Export Control Act, Congress must be notified of any proposed sale of "major defense equipment," as defined on the U.S. Munitions List, that equals or exceeds $14 million; defense articles and services that are not defined as "major defense equipment" which total $50 million or more; and construction or design services amounting to or surpassing $200 million.1 Once notified, Congress has 30 calendar days (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand) to block a sale by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, though it has never blocked a sale once formally notified.

Three countries accounted for just over 60 percent of the total value of the proposed deals. Asking for the purchase of four Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACs) aircraft worth $3 billion, South Korea led all possible buyers with $3.8 billion in total weapons requests. Saudi Arabia ranked second with $1.4 billion in possible arms deals and Taiwan trailed with $1.2 billion in potential weapons buys.

Other notable arms deals offered by the Pentagon include 16 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters to Kuwait, 20 F-16A/B fighter aircraft to Bahrain, 15 UH-60L Blackhawk helicopters to Israel, 21 AH-1W Super Cobra combat helicopters to Taiwan, and 107 excess M-60A3 tanks to Thailand.

If all the proposed deals are finalized the top regional destination would be Asia. The five Asian countries-Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Thailand-requested nearly $6 billion in weapons. In comparison, Near Eastern arms buyers sought about $3.5 billion in arms and European countries tallied $1.1 billion in possible purchases.

The Top Five Recipients of Proposed FMS Deals From January 1 to December 31, 1997:

Total Value
South Korea
$3.801 billion

Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Arrangement to provide spare
parts for military aircraft.

Three MK-41 Vertical Launch Systems.

One MK-41 Vertical Launch System.

159 AIM-120B Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles.

200 Stinger RMP anti-aircraft missiles and associated equipment.

Four E-767 Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACs) aircraft.

1,065 Stinger RMP anti-aircraft missiles.

Saudi Arabia
$1.428 billion

Communications equipment, including 465 AN/VRC-90, 355 AN/VRC-92, and 404 AN/VRC-119 radios.

Support for continued modernization of Saudi Arabian National Guard,
including 130 90mm turret weapon systems for integration into light
armored vehicles.

Contractor support services in support of five E-3 Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACs) aircraft, seven KE-3 aerial refueling tankers, and one KE-3 Tactical Air Surveillance aircraft.

$1.246 billion

F-16 pilot training.

Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Arrangement to provide spare
parts for military aircraft.

13 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior armed scout helicopters with 13 engines, 13 Hellfire missile launchers, Hydra-70 rockets, and spare and repair parts.

21 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters with spare and repair parts.

1,786 TOW-2A anti-armor guided missiles, 114 TOW launchers, and
100 M1045A2 High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle trucks.

54 RGM-84L Harpoon anti-ship missiles with containers and spare and repair parts.

$800 million
16 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, 384 Hellfire missiles, and 10,917 Hydra-70 rockets.
$529 million

Co-production of 50 M88A2 recovery vehicle kits, 53 M2 machine guns, and 100 AN/PVS-7B night vision goggles.

Four CH-47D Chinook helicopters with engines and spare and repair parts.

32 AGM-84G Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

84 MK-46 torpedoes with containers.

Medical equipment, medical furnishings, training and other related elements of logistics to support a 650 bed International Medical Center in Egypt.


1. The State Department is also required to report to Congress any commercial sales it approves of "major defense equipment" that amount to $14 million or more, defense articles and services that equal or exceed $50 million, and any items defined as "significant military equipment." As in the case of FMS sales, Congress can block the sale with a joint resolution of disapproval within 30 calendar days of notification (15 in the case of NATO members, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand). Potential weapons buyers have four years to act under authorized commercial licenses. The State Department's Office of Defense Trade Controls has final responsibility for license applications for commercial defense trade exports and all issues related to defense trade compliance, enforcement, and reporting.

Sources: Defense Security Cooperation Agency, Department of State, and Arms Control Association