Saudi Arabia Said to Buy $60 Billion in U.S. WeaponsAugust 27, 2010
The Pentagon and State Department have informed a congressional committee that handles arms sales to foreign countries that it plans to allow the sale of fighter jets, attack helicopters and munitions worth about $60 billion to Saudi Arabia.
The Middle East U.S. ally would receive 84 Boeing F-15 fighter jets worth $30 billion and as many as 132 Boeing Apache attack helicopters. The package also includes United Technologies Corp.’s UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, Bloomberg News reported. The total cost of the helicopters will also be around $30 billion. The deal also includes spare parts, training simulators, long-term logistics support and munitions, according to the article.
“I think it would be the largest ever,” William Hartung, director of New America Foundation’s Arms and Security Initiative, told Bloomberg News. “Other deals that used to be considered large…aren’t even in the ballpark [by comparison], even allowing for inflation.”
The sale backs the White House strategy to bulk up defenses among its Middle East allies to counter Iran’s growing offensive missile capabilities. Bloomberg News noted that the strategy is part of the Gulf Dialogue started by the Bush administration. “In the past, a record-setting deal to a region of tension like the Persian Gulf would have drawn considerable congressional opposition,” Hartung told the news agency. “That does not seem to be the case this time around.”
The Saudi’s would receive 72 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and up to 60 AH-64D Longbow Apaches. The Longbow is a highly touted anti-tank helicopter, capable of shooting laser-guided or all-weather air-to-ground missiles, according to Bloomberg News. The same Longbow Apache has been sold to Egypt, Israel, Greece, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, among other countries. Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin supply the choppers’ radar and sensors.
Saudi Arabia bought arms and support worth nearly $37 billion from worldwide sources between 2001 and 2008, the article reported.