Amidst human rights concerns, the U.S. State Department announced a potential sale of 12 F-16 fighter jets, 24 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles besides 12 AGM-841-1 Harpoon missiles altogether worth $2.6 billion to the government of the Philippines.
The 12 F-16 fighter planes will come at a cost of $2.43 billion, 24 AIM-9X Sidewinder tactical missiles at $43.4 million, and 12 AGM-841-1 Harpoon missiles at $120 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on Thursday.
The F-16s will also come equipped with three KMU-572 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (LJDAM) tail kits and six Mk-82 500lb bombs.
Each contract includes associated equipment, training and spare parts.
Lockheed Martin would be the primary contractor for the F-16s, with Raytheon for the Sidewinder missiles and Boeing for the Harpoon missiles.
The DSCA statements noted that "the proposed sale will be …..enabling the Philippines to deploy fighter aircraft with precision munitions in support of counterterrorism operations in the southern Philippines."
U.S. House members propose Philippine Human Rights Act
The deals must still be approved by the U.S. Congress some of whose members have opposed the sale.
A group of 10 House members co-sponsored a bill last week to suspend military arms sales to the Philippines, citing the human rights record of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, "until violence against dissident ceases and accountability against the perpetrators commences," Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., said in a statement.
The bill, called the Philippine Human Rights Act, would cut support for Philippine military and police until alleged human rights violations have been examined.