The United States has announced that it will sell nearly $30 billion worth of F-15SA fighter aircraft as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance, and logistics to Saudi Arabia. “This agreement,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro, “serves to reinforce the strong enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia. It demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a strong Saudi defense capability as a key component to regional security.”
The U.S. arms sale sends a strong message to countries in the Middle East that the United States is committed to stability in the Persian Gulf and broader Middle East. It will enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty. The sale will advance interoperability between the U.S. and Saudi air forces through joint training and exercises. Approximately 5,500 Saudi personnel will be trained through 2019, further strengthening the bonds between U.S. and Saudi forces.
The arms sale to Saudi Arabia was assessed under the U.S. government’s Conventional Arms Transfer Policy. This policy takes into account factors including the national security interests of the United States, the country’s legitimate security needs, and the interests of regional security. The U.S. is committed to Israel’s security and has determined that Israel’s qualitative military edge would not be diminished. “With this agreement,” said Assistant Secretary Shapiro, “the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have accomplished a historic achievement in their longstanding security partnership, a partnership that furthers security and stability in the Gulf region.”
It was also recently announced that the United Arab Emirates would spend $3.5 billion to acquire Lockheed Martin’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, a mobile land-based anti-ballistic missile system capable of countering the most advanced weapons in the Iranian arsenal. The United States is also making Patriot air-defense systems available to friendly countries in the region.
The United States is firmly committed to the security of Saudi Arabia and the broader Gulf region. The U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia is central to that commitment.