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      Report: U.S. to Sell F-15 Jets to Saudis

      The Obama administration is poised to announce the sale of nearly $30 million worth of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/29/2011, 9:48 AM

      U.S. officials said on Wednesday that the Obama administration is poised to announce the sale of nearly $30 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, The Associated Press reported.

      According to the officials, the deal will send 84 new fighter jets and upgrades for 70 more for a total of $29.4 billion.

      The officials spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because the sale has not been made public.

      Last year, the United States modified an arms package it planned to sell to Saudi Arabia, after Israel expressed opposition to the inclusion of long-range weapons systems and other arms in the package.

      Israel’s opposition to the deal caused the weapons to be dropped from the deal and it only included the F-15s.

      Officials at the time explained that under the proposed sale, the Saudis would receive 84 Boeing F-15s with onboard targeting systems similar to those offered to other foreign governments. These are not as technologically advanced as F-15s flown by the U.S. military.

      Around the same time it was reported that Israel and the U.S. were nearing a $3 billion deal that would see Israel buying 19 advanced F-35 warplanes that would give it a significant military advantage. Reports at that time said that the trigger for this deal was likely the U.S. commitment to Israel not to provide the Saudis with advanced arms.

      Last month, the IDF announced that the F-35 stealth fighter planes purchased from the United States by Israel will be based east of Be’er Sheva.

      The aircraft is considered a key asset in a future war, especially with Iran, but the first deliveries will not be until 2015. Pilots will be trained in the United States a year beforehand.