U.S. approves $680 mln sale of Black Hawk helicopters to Mexico

WASHINGTON, April 21 Mon Apr 21, 2014 4:25pm EDT

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WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Monday said it had approved the potential sale of 18 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp to Mexico, a deal valued at $680 million.

The State Department approved the possible sale and Congress was notified last Thursday by the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales.

U.S. lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare.

The deal was announced ahead of an upcoming trip to Mexico by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

Mexico had asked to buy 18 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 40 engines built by General Electric, night vision goggles, weapons and other equipment, as well as training and logistics support.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale would significantly increase and strengthen Mexico's ability to provide in-country airlift support for forces fighting drug trafficking organizations. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Grant McCool)

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