Wednesday, July 20, 2011

AirForces Monthly 2010-10

A PLANNED MAJOR US arms package for Saudi Arabia, currently under negotiation, is expected to include 84 Boeing F-15S Eagles for the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF), plus around 72 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk and 60 AH-64D Longbow Apache attack helicopters. The deal, estimated to be worth up to $60 billion, is now moving closer to being finalised, according to US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) head, US Navy Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, speaking on July 21 at the Farnborough Air Show. He stated that the DSCA expected to seek approval from Congress for the Foreign Military Sales acquisitions shortly, most likely before the end of September. The Pentagon and State Department had already informally notified Congressional committees that deal with such arms sales around the beginning of August about the potential order. The deal could be one of the largest ever made with Saudi Arabia, comprising $30 billion for the F-15s and the same again for the 132 helicopters, including spares, simulators, training, weapons and long-term logistics support. Saudi Arabia is keen to have an active electronically-scanned array radar in its new Eagles, although it is as yet uncertain whether the US will agree to this. The new F-15s would supplement the 70 survivors of 72 F-15S bought under a previous contract in 1992 and delivered between 1996 and 1999. It is anticipated that an upgrade and refurbishment of the 70 existing F-15S would also be included in the contract. The RSAF also has 82 F-15C/Ds in service, deliveries of which had begun in 1982, and it is anticipated that the new Eagles would replace some of these.