Saudi Signs Arms Contract with US
Saudi Arabia has signed an arms deal with the United States believed to be worth more than two billion dollars, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz said Saturday.
"The deal has been signed. It focuses on equipment for the National Guard and the four branches of the armed forces," the army, navy, air force and air-defense force, Prince Sultan told the Arabic daily Al-Hayat.
The minister, however, refused to confirm press reports that the deal was valued at 2.4 billion dollars.
The Pentagon announced in September that Saudi Arabia had requested possible US military purchases valued at more than 2.7 billion dollars, including contracts to maintain its fleet of F-15 fighters.
One of the proposed contracts was an arms package valued at 416 million dollars as part of an effort to modernize the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
It would include 1,827 TOW 2A anti-tank missiles, advanced tactical communications systems, and 132 light armored vehicles, the Pentagon said.
The Saudi armed forces comprise 126,500 men, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
The 75,000-strong National Guard, however, is independent of the defense ministry and comes under the direct orders of Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz -- RIYADH (AFP)
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