US-Saudi $60bn arms deal to be completed in six months

US manufacturers already working on contracts worth up to $60bn, says Rockwell Collins official
US-Saudi $60bn arms deal to be completed in six months
Saudi Arabia will buy as many as 84 F-15 fighters, as well as upgrades for 70 existing jets, just under 200 helicopters, laser-guided missiles and bombs, and advanced radar systems
By Ed Attwood
Tue 22 Feb 2011 02:47 PM

Saudi Arabia's move to purchase as much as $60bn of arms from the US is likely to be completed within six months, a senior official from American company closely associated with the deal has said.

"We are currently bandying proposals back and forth between ourselves, Boeing, the kingdom and the US government," Greg Churchill, Rockwell Collins' executive vice president for international and service solutions, told Arabian Business at a defence event in Abu Dhabi.

"I'm going to say that all of that will come to fruition in the next six months before it totally finalises and we know exactly what it is we're going to go do.

"I say six months with a little bit of liberty, probably due to the general timing and politics associated with it," Churchill said.

Representing the biggest ever US arms deal, Saudi Arabia will buy as many as 84 F-15 fighters, as well as upgrades for 70 existing jets, just under 200 helicopters, laser-guided missiles and bombs, and advanced radar systems.

Rockwell Collins' share in the deal will amount to "in excess of $60-70m", Churchill said, adding that the company had already started work on the orders.

"We've already been turned on by Boeing for a bit of the work that has long-lead implications. We're already working on contract, although not under [a definite] contract as yet. But all of that will be sorted out, like I say, within six months."

The firm, which makes communications and avionics systems for defence and commercial platforms, has also just opened offices in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as it seeks to win more contracts in the UAE.

Churchill said that he expected major contracts to be signed with the country "in the coming weeks".

The official also said he was planning to double Middle East sales from an estimated $25-30m per year in the near future, especially given projected declines in US defence spending.

"[This region is] definitely more important - I don't think the challenges this part of the world faces are getting any smaller, and in fact within the last month we could argue that they're getting even more dynamic," Churchill added.

"So I don't see that changing any time soon. So for us, that represents opportunity."

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