US to sell helicopters to Indonesia in $500m deal

A AH-64 Apache helicopter fires flares during a performance in Poland on 24 August 2013 With the helicopter sale, the US says it wants to help build Indonesia's military capability

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The US has agreed for the first time to sell new AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Indonesia, US officials say.

The deal is worth $500m (£320m), including radar, training and maintenance.

Indonesia will purchase eight new Apache helicopters, made by Boeing.

The deal was announced during a visit by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is on a tour of South East Asia, to Jakarta.

"Providing Indonesia these world-class helicopters is an example of our commitment to help build Indonesia's military capability," he said in a statement.

The deal will help Indonesia respond to "a range of contingencies including counter-piracy operations and maritime awareness", it said.

The US has recently stepped up its diplomatic efforts in East Asia in order to establish a strong presence there in the face of advances by China, correspondents say.

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