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U.S. announces 60-billion-dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia

10-21-2010 10:17 BJT

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United States announced on Wednesday a major arms sale deal to Saudi Arabia worth around 60 billion dollars. Officials say the deal is not expected to draw objections from Israel.

The deal, posted on the website of Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is comprised of 84 F-15SA fighter jets, 70 AH-64D APACHE Longbow Helicopters, 72 UH-60M BLACKHAWK Helicopters, 36 AH-6i Light Attack Helicopters, 12 MD-530F Light Turbine Helicopters, and hundreds of units of engines, weapons and navigation systems.

The package also includes the upgrade of 70 existing F-15S fighter jets in the Saudi Air Force. It is expected to be completed within 15 to 20 years.

The Pentagon has notified the Congress of the deal earlier in the day. If approved, it would be the single largest military sale in U.S. history.

The Pentagon told Congress the sale could enhance U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives by strengthening the "on- going strategically important relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia."

It touted F-15 fighters as the cornerstone of the relationship between the two countries' Air Force, as the new F-15SA would " help deter potential aggressors" by increasing Saudi Arabia's tactical air force capability to defend the country against " regional threats."

Andrew Shapiro, the State Department's assistant secretary for political-military affairs, told reporters the U.S. government does not anticipate any objections from Israel.

Israel, a close U.S. ally, traditionally opposes U.S. arms sales to Arab countries in the region. The Pentagon said the sale "will not alter the basic military balance in the region."

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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