View Full Version : Pentagon OKs $6Billion In Arms Sales To Saudi Arabia

07-21-2006, 08:41 AM
Pentagon OKs $6 bln in arms sales to Saudi Arabia


By Andrea Shalal-Esa
Thu Jul 20, 2006 9:54 PM BST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration said on Thursday it approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of 24 UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters, radios, armoured vehicles and other military equipment worth more than $6 billion (3.25 billion pounds).

Congress has 30 days to block the sales, although such action is rare.

The Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency said the principal contractors for the different sales included Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp., General Electric Co., Harris Corp., ITT Corp., General Dynamics Corp., and Raytheon Corp..

The agency said in a mandatory notice to Congress that the arms sales would help strengthen Saudi Arabia's military and its ability to help the United States fight terrorism around the world. The deal comes amid escalating fighting between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia had asked to buy 24 Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters, spare parts, communications and other equipment valued at $350 million, if all options were exercised, according to the agency, which oversees foreign arms sales.

Sikorsky and GE would be the main contractors for the new helicopters, which would help Saudi Arabia modernise and increase its rotary wing fleet and respond more quickly to possible threats against its infrastructure.

A second deal, valued at up to $5.8 billion, would include 724 lightly armoured vehicles built by General Dynamics, based in Falls Church, Virginia. The deal also would provide more than 2,300 long-range military radio systems built by Harris, based in Melbourne, Florida, and other equipment to help modernize the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency said the deal would help make Saudi Arabia more capable of defending stability in the region and less reliant on deployment of U.S. forces.