Thursday, December 29, 2011

US Finalizes $30bn Saudi Arms Deal

US finalizes $30bn Saudi arms deal

Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:30PM GMT

The US has formally announced a 30-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia which is set to create around 50,000 job opportunities for Americans grappling with an ailing economy.

The deal had been signed on Saturday in Saudi capital Riyadh but was announced by US officials in Hawaii on Thursday.

According to the agreement, the US will provide the Saudi military with 84 new Boeing F-15SA fighter jets and modernize 70 existing warplanes.

The deal also includes munitions, spare parts, training and maintenance contracts, US officials said.

The jets will be manufactured by the US aviation firm Boeing. The deal will create 50 thousand jobs and have a $3.5 billion annual economic impact in the US, the White House said.

According to senior Pentagon official James Miller, "The F-15SA will have the latest generation of computing power, radar technology, infrared sensors and electronic warfare systems."

The deal is part of a ten-year arms agreement between Washington and Riyadh unveiled in October 2010 and worth a whopping $60 billion.

The announcement came as President Barack Obama, who is currently vacationing in his hometown Honolulu, Hawaii, prepares to accelerate his campaign for another term in office.

About a year ago, the White House gained congressional approval for the arms deal with Riyadh.

The delivery of the whole package will unfold over 15 to 20 years, US defense officials said.

The Obama administration has assured US lawmakers that the military equipment provided under the contract does not constitute a threat against Israel.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is considered vital for the US energy security and the main platform for Washington's political sway in the Middle East.

The US has not yet recovered from an econimic crisis that buffeted the country in 2008. The unemployment rate has been around 9 percent in the past few months and over 49 million people, according to a 2011 report by the Census Bureau, live under poverty line.

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