The Obama administration has revealed plans for the largest arms deal in American history. The deal would provide Saudi Arabia with 84 fighter planes, almost 200 helicopters, and other weaponry in return for $60 billion. Congress must approve the sale before the deal can go through. The administration expects the plan to be approved as is, since it has already been seen by officials from Israel.
The United States would sell Saudi Arabia 84 of its American-made F-15 fighter planes equipped with electronic systems configured for Saudi needs. The United States would also upgrade the Saudis’ existing F-15s to match the capabilities of the new planes. The customization of the arsenal would help support the defensive needs of the country but would not include features designed for offensive campaigns. The new jets are comparable to jets the United States has sold to Singapore and South Korea.
Israeli officials have been briefed on the details of the plan and have been assured that the new weapons will not outstrip Israel’s capabilities. It is a priority in Washington for Israel to be able to maintain military superiority in the Middle East region. Initial Israeli anxiety at the deal lessened as more details emerged about the capabilities of the weapons being sold. Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the Obama administration all hope the deal can help alleviate the threat of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.
The deal would be carried out over 15 to 20 years, during which time Saudi Arabia could make additional purchases. Spare parts and replacement parts would be included, and the first planes would be delivered in 2015.
- U.S. Plans $60 Billion, 20-year Arms Deal with Saudi Arabia
The article gives an overview of the historic arms deal.
(Source: CNN, October 20, 2010)
- U.S. Confirms $60 Billion Arms Sales Package for Saudi Arabia
This article gives details about the types of aircraft and weaponry that will be included in the deal and provides examples of why Saudi Arabia needs defensive weapons.
(Source: VOANews.com, October 20, 2010)
- U.S. to Sell F-15s to Saudis
This article discusses Israel’s reaction to an early version of the U.S.-Saudi weapons deal and its implications for the security of the Middle East region.
(Source: Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2010)