Reuters International

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department has approved a potential sale of air-to-air missiles to Australia worth an estimated $1.22 billion (£842.7 million), the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Monday after notifying Congress of the possible deal.

The Australian government has requested up to 450 advanced medium-range AIM-120D air-to-air missiles manufactured by Raytheon. The so-called AMRAAM missiles would be used by the Royal Australian Air Force's F/A-18, E/A-18G and F-35 aircraft, the DSCA statement said.

The government also requested related equipment and support. The estimated value of the total defence equipment is $1.08 billion and the total value of the deal was put at $1.22 billion.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping improve the security of a strategic partner and major contributor to political stability, security and economic development in the Pacific region and globally," the statement said.

The sale would not alter the military balance of the region, DSCA said.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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