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Wednesday, March 31, 2010    

U.S.-Israel C-130J agreement now awaits 'political decision'

WASHINGTON — Israel and the United States have signed an agreement for the sale of the C-130J air transport to the Jewish state.   

Officials said the U.S. Defense Department and Israeli Defense Ministry concluded an agreement that would enable the sale of at least three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft to Israel.

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They said the agreement was signed in Washington on March 24 but has not been announced.

  • During Obama-Netanyahu White House meeting, U.S. and Israel were sealing different deal March 26

  • "There is a signed agreement," an official said. "The announcement requires a political decision."

    Under the accord, Israel would be able to purchase three C-130Js from manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The agreement called for an option of another six air transports for a total value of $1.9 billion. The Israeli request for the Super Hercules had been approved by the administration of then-President George W. Bush in 2007, Middle East Newsline reported.

    The administration of President Barack Obama has refused to approve any of Israel's military requests since it entered office in January 2009. The Pentagon did not announce any weapons contracts to Israel over the last 14 months.

    Israel was expected to receive its first C-130J in 2013, officials said. They said the next step would be to sign a contract with Lockheed Martin, which has been processing requests from such Middle East countries as Iraq, Oman and Tunisia.

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