News / Middle East

US Confirms $60 Billion Arms Sales Package for Saudi Arabia

An F-15 fighter jet (file photo)
An F-15 fighter jet (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

The Obama administration announced plans Wednesday to sell up to $60 billion worth of advanced fighter aircraft, helicopters and related weapons systems to Saudi Arabia.  The package is aimed at helping Saudi Arabia deal with potential threats from Iran and regional terrorism.

The outlines of the arms deal - the largest in U.S. history - had been known for some time, but the administration withheld an official announcement pending consultations with the U.S. Congress.  Under its terms, the United States will provide Saudi Arabia with 84 advanced F-15 fighter planes with electronics and weapons packages tailored to Saudi needs.  An additional 70 F-15's already in Saudi hands will be upgraded to match the capabilities of the new planes.

Saudi Arabia will purchase a huge fleet of nearly 200 Apache, Blackhawk and other U.S. military helicopters, along with a vast array of radar systems, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, and guided bombs.

Officials put the total value of the sales package at as much as $60 billion but said it could be less if Saudi Arabia elects not to exercise purchase options over the 15 to 20 year span of the deal.

At a press event announcing the sale, Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro said it reinforces the existing long-term U.S. military relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Shapiro said a potentially-nuclear armed Iran is one threat the package is designed to deter, but that there are others, including terrorist threats to Saudi Arabia's oil facilities, and border problems such as recent incursions of tribal militants from Yemen.

"It's not solely about Iran.  It's about helping the Saudis with their legitimate security needs, and they have a number of legitimate security needs.  They live in a dangerous neighborhood and we are helping them preserve and protect their security in a dangerous neighborhood against legitimate security threats," said Shapiro.

Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow said the buildup of Saudi capabilities could eventually reduce the need for U.S. military deployments in the Gulf region.

"When one looks at future challenges, having allies throughout the Gulf region who are inter-operable with U.S. forces, who are capable, who have trained together with our forces, it means we have partners and allies we can look to in future contingencies," said Vershbow.  "So it means we may have to station fewer forces on a continuing basis in the region."

Vershbow said the United States has had high-level consultations with Israeli officials on the pending sale, and that Israel does not object to it.

Israel has long had U.S. F-15 fighters in its arsenal and recently has committed to purchase new F-35 strike fighter jets, which U.S. officials say will preserve Israel's qualitative military advantage in the Middle East.

The U.S. Congress could block the Saudi arms deal.  Assistant Secretary Shapiro said, however, that contacts with key House and Senate leaders make administration officials confident that Congress will not be a barrier to the completion of the sale.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid