US approves $30bn fighter jet deal for Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will get 84 top of the line F-15 jets starting in 2015, creating 50,000 American jobs.


Afp December 29, 2011

HAWAII: The United States announced Thursday the signing of a $30 billion arms deal to provide Saudi Arabia with 84 new fighter jets, a move it said sent a "strong message" to the Gulf region.

The announcement came with tensions between Iran and the United States on the rise after Tehran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers if Washington implements a new raft of sanctions over its nuclear program.

The $29.4 billion deal, which was signed on Saturday in Riyadh, will supply 84 new Boeing F-15SA aircraft, modernise 70 existing planes, and also includes munitions, spare parts, training and maintenance contracts, US officials said.

"This sale will send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the Gulf and broader Middle East," senior State Department official Andrew Shapiro told reporters in Washington.

"It will enhance Saudi Arabia's ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty."

The deal, announced formally on Thursday in Hawaii as President Barack Obama vacationed in his native state, was first unveiled in October 2010 as part of a $60 billion US arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

In Honolulu, White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest said the agreement would support more than 50,000 American jobs at a time of high unemployment and provide a $3.5 billion annual boost to the US economy.

The delivery of the whole package will unfold over 15 to 20 years and also includes Black Hawk and Apache attack helicopters, defense officials said.

Shapiro, the assistant US secretary of state for political-military affairs, said the Saudi deal had much to do with countering Iran's perceived threat.

"They've had border security issues. They've had threats in the Gulf as well. And clearly one of the threats that... they face, as well as other countries in the region, is Iran."

However, he added: "This is not solely directed towards Iran. This is directed towards meeting our partner Saudi Arabia's defense needs."

Shapiro also said that, in line with US law, it was determined that the sale would not undercut Israel's qualitative military edge.

Speaking at the same press conference, senior Pentagon official James Miller said the new F-15s "will be the most capable and versatile aircraft in the Royal Saudi Fighter inventory."

"The F-15SA will have the latest generation of computing power, radar technology, infrared sensors and electronic warfare systems," he said.

They will also "be able to strike targets day or night in all weather, with a variety of precision-guided munitions."

With the new fighters' communication systems, US and Saudi pilots will be able to operate "effectively" together in the same air space, Miller said.

First deliveries of the aircraft will be made in early 2015, while the modernisation of existing planes will start in 2014 and the first payments for the deal are expected in the coming weeks and months.

COMMENTS (9)

Yuri Kondratyuk | 9 years ago | Reply

What are the chances that Saudi Arabia will ever fight a war? As long as it is the primary source of oil, automatic protection of US is guaranteed. And that's why nobody will dare attack Saudi Arabia in the forseeable future.

Harry Stone | 9 years ago | Reply

@Rizwan:

These are far from scrap and will out perform anything that PAK has in its inventory or for that matter in all but a few air forces.

You might ask yourself just where a nation can purchase a more proven and capable weapon system than the F15E? To help you with the answer - no where.

The other part of this that seems to be beyond your understanding is there is much more to sucessfully air to air combat and gaining air superority than just the airframe.

VIEW MORE COMMENTS
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read