The US Defense Department has informed Congress that it desires to sell modern weapons and aircraft worth 60 billion dollars to Saudi Arabia. The planned deal, which includes fighter jets, helicopters, satellite guided bombs and radar equipment, would be the biggest arms sale to any country in the history of US, given that it gets through.
Congress has one month to assess the deal before the Pentagon and arms makers embark on more detailed discussions with Saudi Arabia. Congress is likely to assess the sale after the elections when it resumes its sessions.
The arms deal includes 84 brand-new F-15 jets and the upgrading of 70 other F-15’s that Saudi Arabia already has, in addition to three different types of helicopters: 36 Little Birds, 70 Apaches and 72 Black Hawks. Saudis would also receive satellite guided (smart bomb) system, anti-radar and anti-ship missiles.
The deal would take 5-10 years to complete, depending on training required and production timetable.
Defense analysts believe that the arms deal is vital to the US campaign to strengthen ties with Arab partners and counter potential threats from Iran. The sale will also benefit US weapons manufacturers as the Pentagon cuts back its spending in ways that can shrink contracting opportunities.
But some people on Capitol Hill have expressed their concerns over the sale.
seems to be rewarding a country that hasn't been particularly helpful
to any of our foreign policy objectives and one that doesn't seem to be
well-suited to be a military bulwark against Iran," stated Republican.
Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.).