By Andy Sambidge
US Defence Security Cooperation Agency notifies Congress of possible Royal Saudi Naval Forces deal
Saudi Arabia has expressed an interest in a $1.1bn upgrade to its high-tech military systems to help its navy to provide situational awareness in the Gulf and the Red Sea.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said it has notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale to the Gulf kingdom of C4I system upgrades and maintenance and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.
The Agency added that the proposed sale will improve the Royal Saudi Naval Forces’ capability to maintain and upgrade its current C4I system, increase the ability of RSNF vessels and manpower to effectively protect Saudi Arabia’s coastal strategic assets, and keep pace with the rapid advances in C4I technology to remain a viable US coalition partner in the region.
"The RSNF will use the upgraded C4I system to provide situational awareness of naval activity in the Gulf and the Red Sea," it said.
"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic regional partner which has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," the statement added.
The acquisition and integration of all systems will be managed by the US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Weapons Command (SPAWAR).
Implementation of the proposed sale will require the assignment of 14 US Government and contractor representatives in Saudi Arabia for 10 years to support network design, acquisition, implementation, installation, and integration efforts.
Last month, it was reported that defence firms in the US are looking to sell military hardware worth $10.8bn to the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The Defence Security Cooperation Agency said it has notified Congress of the possible foreign military sales to the Gulf countries, with Boeing and Raytheon named as suppliers.
The proposal includes the first US sales to Middle East allies of new Raytheon and Boeing weapons that can be launched at a distance from Saudi F-15 and UAE F-16 fighters.