Saudi Arabia will purchase 84 new, advanced Boeing-built F-15SA aircraft from the United States under a now-finalized $29.4 billion foreign military sale, announced the White House Thursday. The two nations signed the letter of offer and acceptance on Dec. 24. The deal also includes the modernization of 70 existing Saudi F-15s, along with a supply of munitions, spare parts, training, and maintenance support. “This agreement reinforces the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and demonstrates the US commitment to a strong Saudi defense capability,” said White House spokesman Joshua Earnest. Delivery of the first new aircraft is anticipated in early 2015, said James Miller, senior Pentagon policy official, during a press briefing Thursday. The Obama Administration last year disclosed its intent to sell the Saudis these arms. Thursday’s announcement came on the same day that US officials warned a bellicose Iran against attempting to close the Strait of Hormuz—a key Middle East route for shipping oil—as the Iranians have threatened. Appearing with Miller, Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said the Saudi arms sale “is not solely directed towards Iran.” (Shapiro-Miller transcript) (Boeing release)
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.