US to supply $1.29bn bombs to Saudi Arabia

17 November 2015 (Last Updated November 17th, 2015 06:17)

The US State Department has approved the sale of bombs and related equipment worth $1.29bn to Saudi Arabia, less than a month after it approved the supply of warships to the Middle Eastern country.

LGB

The US State Department has approved the sale of bombs and related equipment worth $1.29bn to Saudi Arabia, less than a month after it approved the supply of warships to the Middle Eastern country.

Congress has 30 days to take a decision on the sale.

Saudi Arabia, which is a major market for US arms, has placed a requested for major defence equipment (MDE) including more than 6,000GBU Paveway laser guided bombs (LGBs), and 12,000 general purpose bombs.

The total value of the MDE order is estimated to be $1.10bn, and that of non-MDE is $19m. Non-MDE items include bomb components and support equipment.

The prime contractor for the supplies will be selected through a competition.

The order will enhance the Royal Saudi Air Force’s (RSAF) current weapons supplies, and support the country in its counter-terrorism operations, the US said.

Saudi Arabia has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, with support from the US. It is also an important player in the alliance fighting the IS in Syria and Iraq.

"This acquisition will help sustain strong military-to-military relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, improve operational interoperability with the US, and enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional."

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said: "The proposed sale augments Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats from potential adversaries during combat operations.

"This acquisition will help sustain strong military-to-military relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, improve operational interoperability with the US, and enable Saudi Arabia to meet regional threats and safeguard the world’s largest oil reserves."

The US approved the sale of up to four Lockheed Martin multi-mission warships, and related equipment, in a deal valued at $11.25bn, in October.

According to the United Nations, at least 2,355 civilians have been killed in Yemen the airstrikes began in March.


Image: A model of GBU-12 laser guided bomb. Photo: Public Domain.