The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a possible foreign military sale (FMS) of 34 F-35 joint strike fighter conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) aircraft to Belgium for an estimated cost of $6.53bn.
Along with 34 F-35 Joint Strike CTOL, the Government of Belgium also requested to buy 38 Pratt and Whitney F-135 engines, which include 34 installed and four spares.
The possible sale also includes electronic warfare systems, an autonomic logistics global support system (ALGS), autonomic logistics information system (ALIS), full mission trainer, weapons employment capability, as well as other subsystems and F-35 support equipment.
Approved by the US State Department, the proposed sale will help Belgium to boost its defence capability to prevent aggressive forces in the region and maintain stability in Western Europe.
The potential deal will also strengthen Belgium’s operational aircraft inventory and improve its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defence capability.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company and Pratt and Whitney Military Engines have been cited as the potential prime contractors for the FMS.
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Belgium joins US allies who have ordered the F-35, including Australia, Japan, Israel, the UK, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
In 2015, the Belgian Government confirmed a requirement for 34 new multi-role combat aircraft to replace the 54 ageing F-16s.
Following the Belgian Council of Ministers decision to start the acquisition process, the RfGP was issued on 17 March last year.