Obama Approves $29 Billion Fighter Jet Sale from Boeing to Saudi Royal Family

Monday, January 02, 2012
The royal family of Saudi Arabia will receive more than 80 jet fighters from the United States as part of a $29.4 billion arms deal approved by the Obama administration.
Eighty-four new F-15SA Strike Eagle fighters will be delivered to the Saudi air force, which already possesses 72 F-15s purchased in 1992. As part of the deal, the U.S. will refurbish these planes and provide munitions, spare parts and training for pilots and air crews.
Both foreign policy and domestic considerations motivated President Barack Obama to make the deal.
Although some U.S. officials touted the sale as a means of bolstering Saudi Arabia’s military, and thus checking Iran’s military ambitions in the Persian Gulf region, from a security point of view the deal is mostly symbolic, since the Saudis have never used their F-15s in warfare and any real military encounter with Iran would be handled by the United States, with possible help from Israel. As Defense Industry Daily put it, this is “a world where people often buy arms from you because they want you to be their friend, and a region where shiny new equipment is often meant as a message to neighbors.”
The sale is expected to help keep Boeing’s assembly lines busy until 2017, which means more jobs for the American economy. Raytheon and GE Aircraft Engines are also expected to profit from the deal, producing radar and engines respectively. The Obama administration claims the manufacturing of the F-15s will “engage 600 suppliers in 44 states and provide $3.5 billion in annual economic impact to the U.S. economy.”
Last week the Obama administration also agreed to sell $2-3 billion worth of Lockheed Martin’s Thaad missile interceptors to another royal Gulf dictatorship, the United Arab Emirates.
-David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Saudi Deal Offers Security for Thousands of Local Boeing Workers (by Steve Giegerich, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
With $30 Billion Arms Deal, U.S. Bolsters Saudi Ties (by Mark Landler and Steven Lee Myers, New York Times)

Obama Prepares Largest Arms Sale Ever…to Saudi Arabia (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov) 


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