On Thursday April 19, the Department of State of the United States approved the sale of eight MH-60R helicopters to Mexico, worth 1.2 billion dollars, including spare parts and ammunition, in an operation that according to US State Department release will serve to “improve the safety of a strategic regional partner”.
“The proposed sale will improve Mexico’s ability to deal with current and future threats from enemy weapon systems,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement. The approval of the US Congress is still needed to consolidate the operation though.
According to the recommendation of approval of the operation, Mexico will use the new equipment to “modernize its Armed Forces”, to “significantly increase and strengthen its maritime capabilities” especially in the fight against criminal organizations and in internal security tasks that will also benefit security for the USA
“Mexico has been a strong partner in the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking organizations,” recalled the US Department of State.
The eight multi-mission helicopters are equipped with multiple accessories and devices, including multimodal radars, infrared, navigation systems and night vision devices. According to the company Lockheed Martin, which manufactures helicopters, they are the most advanced in the world, and can take off from frigates, destroyers, war cruisers and aircraft carriers.
The package also includes 10 Hellfire missiles, 38 high-precision rockets, 30 torpedoes and 24 machine guns, among other weapons.
“The helicopters will allow Mexico to carry out antiterrestrial and antisubmarine war missions, and secondary missions such as vertical resupply, search and rescue, and communication transmission,” said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
In its recommendation to Congress to approve the sale, the agency of the American government said that allowing Mexico to acquire this equipment will serve as “a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its national defense.” The United States did not believe that the incorporation of the eight helicopters could pose a problem of “absorption” in the current equipment of the Mexican Armed Forces.
It is the second major request for the purchase of US weapons of the year by Mexico. On January 5, 2018, the State Department approved the sale of a package of weapons worth 98.4 million dollars, which included six surface Harpoon Block II missiles, 23 Block II Rolloing Airframe tactical missiles and six light torpedoes.
Lockheed Martin has also sold his battle helicopters to Australia, as they state on their website.