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Boeing has received approvals from the US government to sell jets to the UK military. Under the $3.2bn (£2.26bn, €2.87bn) deal, up to nine Boeing P-8A Poseidon planes, the heavily modified version of Boeing's 737 passenger jets, could be sold to the UK.
This follows the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the department in charge of military-to-military contacts and transfer of defence material, notifying the deal to Congress on 24 March. The US lawmakers now have 15 days to block the deal, an action which seems unlikely considering the close ties between the two countries.
While it is unknown as to when the UK would take delivery of the planes, it is reported that the US State Department has given the go-ahead for the deal, which would be structured as a government-to-government sale.
The transaction would allow the UK to fill the gap created after the 2010 grounding of an older jet fleet and the failure to replace it with British-made aircraft. The Boeing planes will be used by the UK for maritime patrolling and submarine hunting.
As part of Britain's five-year plan to increase spending by £12bn to £178bn over the next decade, the UK had announced its intention to buy the Boeing planes in November 2015. The UK is not the first to seek these aircraft that are equipped with a host of sensors and the ability to deploy torpedoes and other weapons. India and Australia are already among Boeing's customers for the P-8 planes.
With the decline in demand for combat planes such as the F-15, Boeing is trying to boost its sales with military versions of its commercial jets like the P-8A. Over the next decade, the Illinois headquartered plane manufacturer estimates an export market for the planes to stand at more than 100.