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US says nearly $110 billion worth of military deals inked with Kingdom

A file photo taken on January 1, 2013 shows jet fighters of the Saudi Royal air force performing during the graduation ceremony of the 83rd batch of King Faisal Air Academy (KFAA) students at the Riyadh military airport, in the Saudi capital. (AFP)
WASHINGTON: The US on Saturday announced military deals worth nearly $110 billion with Saudi Arabia, during a visit by President Donald Trump to Riyadh.
The move was billed as “a significant expansion of the more than seven-decade long security relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia,” according to a US State Department statement.
Trump and Secretary Tillerson attended a signing ceremony for almost $110 billion worth of defense capabilities to support Saudi Arabia’s defense needs.
“This package of defense equipment and services supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats,” the statement said.
“Additionally, it bolsters the Kingdom’s ability to provide for its own security and continue contributing to counterterrorism operations across the region, reducing the burden on US military forces.”
“This package demonstrates the United States’ commitment to our partnership with Saudi Arabia, while also expanding opportunities for American companies in the region, potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.”
The intended sales fall broadly into five categories: border security and counterterrorism, maritime and coastal security, air force modernization, air and missile defense, and cybersecurity and communications upgrades. Included are offers of extensive training and support to strengthen our partnership and the Saudi armed forces.
“Collectively, they present the opportunity to significantly augment the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capabilities to help deter regional threats and enhance its ability to protect its borders and contribute to coalition counterterrorism operations,” the statement said.

What’s in the deal
Border security and counterterrorism: Capabilities such as aerostats, tanks, artillery, counter-mortar radars, armored personnel carriers, helicopters and associated training that will enable Saudi Arabia to secure its borders against terrorist and other threats.
Maritime and coastal security: Capabilities that will enable Saudi Arabia to defend freedom of navigation and to deter and defend against maritime attacks or incursions. Systems include multi-mission surface combatant ships, helicopters, patrol boats, and associated weapons systems.
Air force modernization: Systems and training that will enable Saudi Arabia to maintain airborne surveillance, secure its airspace, and provide close air support with improved precision targeting capabilities and processes. Systems include transport, light close air support, intelligence-gathering aircraft, and continuing support for its existing platforms.
Air and missile defense: Systems such as Patriot and THAAD that will help Saudi Arabia protect itself and the region from missile or other airborne attacks.
Cybersecurity and communications: Equipment that will modernize Saudi Arabia’s command and control networks across its military to improve its overall cohesion and operational effectiveness.

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