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Sun 31 Oct 2010 11:01 AM

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Saudi Arabia mulls $4.1bn Spanish arms deal

Kingdom is reported to be in the market for as many as 270 tanks

Saudi Arabia mulls $4.1bn Spanish arms deal
Any new contract could be worth as much as $4.1bn. (AFP/Getty Images)

As the US considers a request from Saudi Arabia to buy as much as $60bn of arms, a Spanish newspaper has reported that the kingdom may also be in the market to buy as many as 270 tanks.

El Pais reported that the Saudi assistant minister of defence and aviation may conclude the acquisition of Leopard 2E tanks from the country this week.

Prince Khaled bin Sultan will meet King Juan Carlos on Monday, followed by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Tuesday, AFP reported.

Any new contract could be worth as much as $4.1bn, which would be a record deal for the Spanish defence industry.

But Spanish officials have not yet confirmed the report.

"There is still no contract. There is the possibility of an acquisition of combat tanks," Raul Alvarez, spokesman for the defence sector of the major union Comisiones Obreras, told AFP.

Spain signed a military cooperation deal with Saudi Arabia in 2008, which has recently been focused on training Saudi pilots on the Eurofighter jet.

The US Congress is currently reviewing a deal that will see Saudi Arabia buy as mant as 84 F-15 fighter jets, as well as 70 Apache Longbow attack helicopters, 72 Black Hawks, 36 light attack helicopters and 12 light turbine helicopters.

If approved, the deal could be completed over the next five to 10 years, with delivery of the weapons taking place over the next 15-20 years.