On Friday, the Pentagon announced that the State Department approved potential arms sales to Chile and NATO worth an estimated $150 million combined. The announcement marks the first approved weapons sale of the Biden administration.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the government of Chile requested the purchase of 16 Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA Missiles and related equipment, worth an estimated $85 million. The primary contractor for the Chile missile deal is Raytheon, the most recent employer of recently confirmed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
For NATO, the State Department approved the potential sale of radio communications equipment, worth approximately $65 million. The DSCA notified Congress of the Biden administration’s approval of both sales on Friday.
Since the process for these deals usually takes months, these sales were likely initiated by the Trump administration. In his final months as president, Trump pushed through multiple weapons packages, including a massive $23 billion dollar package of drones, missiles, and F-35 fighter jets for the UAE as a reward for normalizing with Israel.
The Biden administration put the UAE sale on hold and also paused bomb sales to Saudi Arabia. Although US officials framed the freeze of the sales as a standard procedure for a new administration, the bomb sales to the Saudis are expected to be canceled as part of Biden’s efforts to cut off offensive support for Riyadh’s war in Yemen.