Subscribe Free
in Defence

US announces proposed $60bn sale of military aircraft to Saudi Arabia

Posted 21 October 2010 · Add Comment

Reuters reported that yesterday the US Defense Department notified Congress that it wants to sell Saudi Arabia up to $60bn worth of aircraft and weapons.

According to notices sent to Congress on Wednesday, the proposed sale - which may be the largest to another country in US history if all purchases are made - includes 84 new Boeing F-15 fighter jets (and upgrades to 70 more Saudi already holds) at a cost of $29.4bn, 140 helicopters (including spare parts, training simulators, long-term logistics support and some munitions) at $31 billion and satellite-guided bombs.

The deal will contain 72 Black Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft (a unit of United Technologies Corp.), plus 70 of Boeing's Apache attack helicopters and 36 of its AH-6M Little Birds, whilst power for aircraft and helicopters will be provided by General Electric Co. F-110 and T700 engines.

During a news conference held yesterday, US assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, Andrew Shapiro, stated that the US State Department plans to sell as much as $60bn worth of planes and helicopters to Saudi Arabia over the next 15 to 20 years, with the intention of helping protect the Middle East against the threat of Iranian military expansion. Reuters reported that Mr. Shapiro told the news conference the US administration did not anticipate any objections to the sale from Israel, traditionally wary of arms sales to nearby Arab countries. He said: "We think it will enhance regional security and stability rather than diminish it."

Also present at the news conference was Alexander Vershbow, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. He said the move could also improve military coordination with the US and may lessen the need for US forces in the region.

Shapiro said the total value of the package would not exceed $60bn, although he emphasised that Saudi Arabia may choose not to exercise all of its purchase options during the programme.

Vershbow and Shapiro both stressed that bolstering Saudi Arabia's own defense capabilities would improve US security in a vital part of the world where fears are growing over Iran's nuclear programme.

Shapiro said: "This is not solely about Iran. It's about helping the Saudis with their legitimate security needs ... they live in a dangerous neighbourhood and we are helping them preserve and protect their security."

Vershbow said the sale would improve Saudi Arabia's ability to coordinate with the United States on shared security challenges "so it means we may have to station fewer forces on a continuing basis in the region."

Congress has until Nov. 20 to stop the sale before the Defense Department and companies proceed into more detailed talks with Saudi Arabia on contracts that, if executed, could extend a decade. Congress will review the proposed sale during its scheduled Nov. 15-19 post-election session.

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

EBACE: TrueNorth new data link unit to improve fairground communications

Communication between pilots and ATC is set to improve following the introduction today at EBACE by TrueNorth, of a new FANS-1/A over Iridium data link unit (DLU) with voice capabilities.

Nextant Aerospace launches large cabin 604XT programme

Nextant Aerospace has announced the launch of a new cockpit avionics programme in conjunction with Rockwell Collins that will bring Pro Line Fusion to the Bombardier Challenger 604 aircraft platform.

FlightSafety International starts Master-level Advanced Training Courses for Dassault Falcon

FlightSafety International has announced the start of new Master-level Advanced Training Courses for the Dassault Falcon 2000EX EASy and 900EX EASy series aircraft.

EBACE: Airbus launches ACJ330neo at European show

Airbus has launched a private jet version of its A330neo at EBACE today. The new VVIP jet combines new-generation engines and aerodynamic and other improvements which the company said will deliver even more comfort, efficiency and true

EBACE: Supercar designer gives new look to Airbus ACJ319neo

Italian exotic car manufacturer Pagani Automobili is moving its design focus to the world of aircraft with a new cabin design for the ACJ319 neo.

Deer Jet to get second 787 DreamJet

Deer Jet is to introduce a second Boeing 787 Dream Jet to its fleet, making it the world's largest operator of the type.

EBACE17 SK0103240517
See us at
EBACE17 BT01032405176th Annual Mediterranean Business AviationDIAC BT1105121117AIME BT1204240118DAS BT1105161117