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Thu 29 Dec 2011 12:33 PM

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US poised to announce $29.4bn fighter jet deal to Saudi

Reports say deal will include 84 new fighter jets as Gulf state ramps up investment in military equipment

US poised to announce $29.4bn fighter jet deal to Saudi
Obama administration is poised to announce the $29.4bn sale of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia [Photo for illustrative purposes only]

The Obama administration is poised to announce the $29.4bn sale of F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia as part of a previously reported package for as much as $60bn, it has been reported.

The deal includes 84 new fighter jets and upgrades for 70 more US officials told newswire AP on condition of anonymity.

The US last year announced it would seek approval from Congress for a $60bn weapons sale to the Gulf state, the largest single US arms deal ever. The deal, which includes F-15s and helicopters as well as an array of missiles, bombs and delivery systems, had raised concerns particularly from pro-Israeli lawmakers.

Gulf states are ramping up their investment in military equipment amid fears of a threat from Iran. The GCC is expected to spend as much as $100bn over the next few years buying military equipment.

The UAE in March was named the region’s largest arms importer and the sixth largest buyer of weapons worldwide by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Massachusetts-based Raytheon Company on Dec 9 received US Congressional and State Department approvals on a $1.7bn contract to upgrade Saudi Arabia's Patriot air and missile defence system.

The award, announced in June, includes ground-system hardware, a full training package, support equipment upgrades and an interoperability capability to support potential coalition operations.