U.S. Confirms Sale of F-15 Jets to Saudi Arabia
The United States confirmed on Thursday the sale of 84 Boeing F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia, the BBC reported.
On Wednesday, U.S. officials hinted that the deal would soon be announced.
In addition to the sale which is estimated at $30 billion, the BBC said, the U.S. will upgrade 70 existing Saudi F-15s.
The agreement is part of a $60 billion arms deal covering 10-15 years which was approved by Congress last year.
The sale was formally announced on Thursday from Hawaii, where President Barack Obama is on holiday. White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest said the deal would support more than 50,000 American jobs at a time of high unemployment.
Meanwhile in Washington, senior state department official Andrew Shapiro was quoted as having said the deal would send “a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the Gulf and broader Middle East.”
“It will enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty,” he added.
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.