Tuesday, May 20, 2008

U.S. May Sell Romania Lockheed F-16s for $4.5 Billion

By Edmond Lococo

May 19 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Defense Department may sell Romania a combination of new and used F-16 jet aircraft built by Lockheed Martin Corp. with a total potential value of $4.5 billion.

Romania has requested the purchase of 24 new F-16C/D aircraft and the upgrade of 24 older models, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in an e-mailed statement today.

The proposed sale would contribute to U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives because Romania is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, the Defense Department said in a statement supporting the sale. The jets will ``greatly enhance'' Romania's interoperability with the U.S. and other NATO nations, making it a more valuable partner, the statement said.

The sale would include related equipment such as engines, radar, targeting pods and navigation systems, the statement said. Contractors for the equipment include General Electric Co., United Technologies Corp.'s Pratt & Whitney unit, Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., Boeing Co., L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. and Goodrich Corp.

Lockheed, which had 2007 revenue of $41.9 billion, rose 78 cents to $109.94 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have gained 11 percent in the past 12 months.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edmond Lococo in Boston at elococo@bloomberg.net.

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