October 29, 2015 / 4:24 PM / in 4 years

U.S. approves sale of 'smart bomb' kits to Turkey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of precision bomb kits valued at $70 million to Turkey, a member of NATO and a key part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Syria, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Lawmakers have 15 days to block the sale, although such action is rare. Once it has cleared that hurdle, Turkey and the U.S. government can negotiate the actual sale.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, told lawmakers that the government of Turkey had asked to buy 1,000 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits that are used to turn unguided bombs into all-weather smart munitions using GPS guidance systems.

“It is vital to the U.S. national interest to assist our NATO ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability,” the agency said in a notice to lawmakers that was posted on its website on Thursday.

It said the proposed sale would enhance the Turkish Air Force’s ability to defend its own territory and work together with NATO allies.

The prime contractor on the deal would be Raytheon Co .

(This story has bears a correction in the final paragraph to remove reference to two contractors, General Atomics Corp and L-3 Communications Holdings, listed erroneously by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency)

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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