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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

US approves $670 million arms deal to Saudi Arabia including 6,600 missiles

The announcement came shortly after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met US Defence Chief James Mattis

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis. Courtesy: Saudi Press Agency
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with US Secretary of Defence James Mattis. Courtesy: Saudi Press Agency

Hours after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with US Defence Chief James Mattis, the Trump administration authorised a $670 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia.

A statement from the State Department on Thursday confirmed approval of “TOW 2B (BGM-71F-Series) missiles for an estimated cost of $670 million” to the Kingdom. Congress has been notified of the sale.

The statement added that the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested to buy up to six thousand six hundred (6,600) TOW 2B missiles (BGM-71F-Series) and ninety-six (96) TOW 2B (BGM-71F-Series) fly-to-buy lot validation missiles”.

It said this sale “will support US foreign policy and national security objectives by improving the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic growth in the Middle East”.

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The principal contractor for this sale is Raytheon Missile Systems.

In the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump showed off charts revealing $12.5 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia and $20 billion pending. Those include threat detection Aerostats, Abrams tank upgrades, Multi-Mission Surface Combatant frigates, the THAAD system and other equipment.

The Saudi embassy in Washington said Prince Mohammed met the “leadership from Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and General Dynamics companies” on Wednesday. The discussion, the embassy said, involved developing technology and growing trade and business ties between the US and the Kingdom.