Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hungary and Poland May Buy U.S. F-16s Release of Warplane Technical Data Ok'd

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hungary and Poland May Buy U.S. F-16s Release of Warplane Technical Data Ok'd

Article excerpt

In a move that could pave the way for sale of F-16 Falcons to former Soviet-bloc countries, the State Department has given the Pentagon permission to provide data on the fighter planes to Poland and Hungary.

The decision, made by the State Department in April, has already allowed Air Force officials to give information to both countries on the Falcon, which is built at Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems in west Fort Worth.

Air Force Secretary Sheila Widnall met with officials from Hungary and Poland on a recent European trip and discussed the possible sale of Falcons. She promised officials in Poland that she would send an Air Force delegation to Warsaw to provide additional data.

Lockheed Martin spokesman Joe Stout said the Pentagon's efforts in Eastern Europe were a "first step" toward releasing the plane for sale there. Stout said initial discussions would not include highly technical information on the fighter, but later negotiations might.

The State Department and Congress would have to approve any agreement reached for sale of the planes to Eastern European nations.

Air Force Maj. Tom LaRock said the Pentagon would like to see U.S. allies in Eastern Europe flying U.S. aircraft, particularly if the countries might join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. …

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