The Biden administration has informally reached out to the U.S. Congress to seek approval for a proposed sale of missiles and equipment upgrades to NATO ally Turkey, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, APA reports citing Reuters.
The weapons package was an existing request by Ankara, and includes AIM-120 medium-range air-to-air and sidewinder missiles, as well as hardware and software updates for F-16 fighter jets, sources said.
The notification to Congress is part of an informal process that gives lawmakers the opportunity to question or quash potential weapons sales quietly to avoid chafing U.S. allies publicly.
The news on the package was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The package, which one source said would be worth around $300 million, is separate from the multi-billion-dollar upgrade deal that Turkey requested from the United States last October, asking to buy 40 Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) F-16 jets and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes.
The State Department, when asked about the deal, said it does not "publicly comment on or confirm proposed defense transfers until they have been formally notified to Congress."
"The United States and Turkey have longstanding and deep bilateral defense ties, and Turkey's continued NATO interoperability remains a priority," a State Department spokesperson added.
Congress' response to the smaller deal may provide insight on how it will react to the bigger F-16 sale, which is crucial for Ankara's air force.