US to help Saudi Arabia maintain its military helicopter fleet

State Department announces maintenance contract worth up to $500 million for Saudi Arabia's military helicopter fleet.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Saudi flag
Saudi flag

The US State Department announced on Thursday the approval of a maintenance contract worth up to $500 million for Saudi Arabia's military helicopter fleet, AFP reports.

This marks the first agreement the US has with Saudi Arabia since Joe Biden became President.

Under the deal, a continuation of a previous agreement, the US will provide 350 contractor technicians and two government officials over two years to handle the maintenance of the Saudi military's Apache and Black Hawk attack helicopters, as well as the future fleet of Chinook transports.

Before his election, Biden promised to make Saudi leaders "pay" for the murder of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed and dismembered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, after initially denying Turkish claims that he was murdered.

An intelligence report released in February by the Biden administration said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved Khashoggi’s murder.

Khashoggi’s murder resulted in tensions between lawmakers and the White House. Trump had reaffirmed his support for Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of Khashoggi, insisting the US-Saudi Arabian alliance is beneficial not only for American interests, but also for those of Israel.

Lawmakers from both parties, meanwhile, had called for a strong US response to Khashoggi's murder.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)