Saudi Arabian media are reporting that a massive arms deal with the United States -- the largest ever single U.S. arms sale -- is on track and in the final stages of negotiations.
Saudi authorities said this week that the deal to buy up to $60 billion worth of advanced military aircraft will also include additional F-15 fighter jets.
Saudi Arabia's assistant defense minister on Tuesday confirmed the deal in Riyadh's first official comments since it was announced in September.
The Obama administration sees the deal as part of a broader policy aimed at supporting Arab allies against the rise of Iran as a regional power. The administration said it approved the sale after considering Saudi Arabia's defense needs and determining that it would not upset the current balance of power in the region.
At a time when nearly one in 10 U.S. workers is unemployed, the Obama administration also sees the deal as creating new American jobs. Negotiations are under way for naval and ballistic missile defense upgrades that could add tens of billions of dollars in additional sales.
The last significant Saudi purchase of U.S. weapons systems was a 1992 $9-billion deal for 72 F-15s.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.
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