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Huge Saudi arms order goes to Congress

written by australianaviation.com.au | October 21, 2010

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has advised Congress of a huge US$60bn (A$61.5bn) arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

Top of the list is 84 new Boeing F-15SA fighters which will be of an advanced configuration similar to the Singaporean F-15SG and Korean F-15K. The aircraft will feature AN/APG-63(V)3 AESA radars and GE F110-129 engines, as well as Link 16, LANTIRN/Tiger Eye navigation pods, IRST pods, and JHMCS helmet sights. With the F-15s will also come a comprehensive weapons package including AIM-9X and AIM-120C-7 AAMS, thousands of general purpose, JDAM and laser-JDAM bombs, Harpoon anti-ship and HARM anti-radar missiles, the construction and refurbishment of basing facilities in Saudi Arabia, and the establishment of a 12 aircraft training squadron in the US.

The Saudis current fleet of 70 F-15S fighters will be upgraded to a similar standard as the ‘SA’, and additional APG-63(V)3s and other equipment have been listed in the request for this upgrade. The F-15Ss were recently re-engined with the F110 engine.

The deal also includes 70 Boeing AH-64D Block III Apache attack helicopters and spares including engines, a number of APG-78 Longbow radars, targeting pods and other sensors, electronic warfare systems, weapons including more than 2500 Hellfire missiles, ground support equipment, mission planning systems, and training systems and publications.

Also included in the package are 72 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 36 Boeing AH-6i ‘Little Bird’ light attack helicopters, 12 MD-530F training helicopters, and associated spares, training and support systems.

The deal comes on top of a recent purchase by Saudi Arabia of 72 Eurofighter Typhoons, about half of which have been delivered, and is certain to see the kingdom retain its top spot in the world for defence spending of more than 12 per cent of its GDP.

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