The Saudis’ American Shopping Spree: F-15s, Helicopters & More
November 17/15: The US State Department has cleared the sale of $1.29 billion worth of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia. The purchase will replenish supplies used in recent air strikes against both Iranian backed Houthi insurgents in Yeman and Islamic State forces in Syria. Details of the sale were posted by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) last Friday and follow last months shopping spree by the Saudis which totalled $11.25 billion. Last months sale included four multi-mission Littoral combat ships as well as various equipment and munitions which came in the wake of the US-Iranian nuclear agreement. Several Gulf nations made requests to the US to help modernize their military before they acquiesced to the deal.
In October 2010, talks that Saudi Arabia was negotiating a $30-60 billion arms package with the USA were made official with a full multi-billion request that included 84 F-15 Strike Eagles to replace the Kingdom’s Tornado strike aircraft and/or F-15A-D fighters, upgrades for another 70 planes, about 132 UH-60 Black Hawk utility and AH-64 attack helicopters, and armaments to equip them.
This article looks at those requests, their tie-ins, the issues that are part of these potential deals, and related follow-on requests. As is often the case with DSCA announcements, years can pass between the requests and the signed contracts, but these contracts have started to roll in, alongside other significant buys.
Quick Sales Summary
Contracts & Key Events
Appendix A: Rumors, Questions & Competitors (2010)
Wings of Eagles – Which F-15s?
What’s the Buzz – Helicopters
Foreign Affairs: Considerations and Competitors
Additional Readings & Sources
Key Equipment: Platforms
Key Equipment: Weapons & Ancillaries
News & Views
Fill in the secure form below to activate your subscription right away (or pick another plan)