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Thread: Saudi MEGA Deal

  1. #11

    More detail on this from Defense Update................

    Saudi Arabia to Order 180 New Helicopters for a New National Guard Aviation Regiment

    October 21, 2010

    The recently announced acquisition of more than 180 helicopters for the Saudi Arabian National Guards (SANG) provides the first major step in expansion of the SANG Aviation Command, established in 2006. The announced package worth well over $25 billion equals the modernization of the Royal Saudi Air Force’s F-15 force.

    As part of this package the U.S. will supply 36 new AH-64D attack helicopters, upgrading of existing Apaches, delivery of 36 AH-6 Little Bird light attack helicopters. The package also includes 72 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk assault helicopters and 12 MD530 scout/liaison light helicopters.

    The SANG aviation regiment will field 36 AH-64D (Apache Block III) attack helicopters, of which up to 20 will be equipped with mast mounted targeting systems, comprising the AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars and AN/APR-48A Radar Frequency Interferometer sets. The 36 AH-6i light attack helicopters will carry Wescam MX15Di EO targeting systems, and be armed with GAU-19A 12.7mm Gatling guns and launchers for the firing of AGM-114R HELLFIRE II Missiles.

    In addition to the RSNG Apache acquisition the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) will also invest $3.3 billion acquiring 24 additional Block III Apaches, under a separate order. 10 of these helicopters will be fitted with the mast mounted target acquisition kit. For these gunships the Saudis opted for a weapons mix comprising of AGM-114R Hellfire, 30 mm automatic gun and 70mm laser guided rockets. The helicopters will be equipped with airborne satellite communications terminals. In addition, the Saudi Arabian Royal Guard will also buy 10 Apache Block IIIs, on a third order worth $2.2 billion. The configuration and weapon’s mix on these helicopters is almost identical to that of the Saudi Army.

    © 2010 defense-update.com

  2. #12

    Better F-15SA Eagles for the Royal Saudi Air Force

    October 21, 2010

    Updated: October 21, 2010: The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have finalized an arms package that shadows even the large arms mega-sales in the region. The current program includes several packages worth about $60 Billion, which include mostly platforms produced by the Boeing Company. The main element is the modernization of the Royal Saudi Air Force, with the acquisition and modernization of more than 150 F-15S/SA fighters as part of a $30 billion multiyear investment. This package includes the acquisition of 84 new F-15SA fighter jets, replacing the Kingdom’s aging F-15C/D fighters, and the upgrading 70 existing F-15S strike fighters in service with the RSAF, bringing them to the same level of the new F-15SA.

    The new F-15SA and the upgraded F-15S will include the APG-63(v)3 radar from Raytheon, the latest AESA radar developed for the Eagle. These aircraft will also carry the AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Targeting pod and Tiger Eye Navigation Pod (3rd Generation LANTIRN). On reconnaissance missions the DB-110 Reconnaissance Pod will be used. The Saudi acquisition represents the first application of DB-110 on the F-15 platform.

    To further improve air combat capability the new Saudi Eagles will be equipped with Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS) and AN/AAS-42 Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Systems. The Saudis will also receive the latest version of the Sidewinder AIM-9X short range air/air missiles and AIM-120C/7 AMRAAM missiles. For air/surface attack the new Eagles will carry mostly precision guided weapons, including AGM-84 Block II Harpoon anti-ship missiles, AGM-88B HARM anti radiation missiles, 500 and 2,000 lb versions of enhanced Paveway II and III Dual Mode Laser/Global Positioning System (GPS) Guided bombs, 2,000 lbs JDAM GPS guided weapons, and CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapons (SFW) utilizing Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers (WCMD).

    © 2010 defense-update.com

  3. #13

    US-Saudi Arms Deal Ripples Through Region

    October 21, 2010

    Associated Press

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- As American and Saudi officials spent months quietly hammering out a wish list for a mammoth sale of American warplanes and other weapons to the oil-rich kingdom, leaders in Iran were busy publicly displaying their advances in missiles, naval craft and air power.

    In one memorable bit of political theater, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood under a cascade of glitter in August to unveil a drone bomber -- dubbed the "ambassador of death" -- that he claimed would keep foes in the region "paralyzed" on their bases.

    The response by Washington and its cornerstone Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, moved a step ahead Wednesday. The Obama administration notified Congress of plans to sell as many as 84 new F-15 fighter jets, helicopters and other gear with an estimated $60 billion price tag.

    The proposed deal -- one of the biggest single U.S. arms sales -- is clearly aimed at countering Iran's rising military might and efforts to expand its influence.

    But it ties together other significant narratives in the region, including an apparent retooling of Israeli policies to tacitly support a stronger, American-armed Saudi Arabia because of common worries about Iran.

    It also reinforces the Gulf as the Pentagon's front-line military network against Iran even as the U.S. sandwiches the Islamic republic with troops and bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "In this way, Saudi Arabia does become some sort of buffer between Israel and Iran," said Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a Swedish think tank that tracks arms sales.

    Israel has made no diplomatic rumblings over the proposed Saudi deal -- a marked contrast to almost automatic objections decades ago to Pentagon pacts with Arab nations. It's widely seen as an acknowledgment that Israel's worries over Iran and its nuclear program far outweigh any small shifts in the Israel-Arab balance of power.

    Israel is moving toward a policy of "pick your fights," said Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

    "After all," he added, "Saudi Arabia is not such a big threat to us."

    And Israel does not come out of the current American arms bazaar empty handed. Earlier this month, it signed a deal to purchase 20 F-35 stealth fighters that could possibly reach Iran undetected by radar. Israel has an option for 75 more.

    "This equipment is primarily to give (Israel) a better feeling facing the Iranian threat. It is not related to Israeli-Arab relations," said Inbar. "Ironically, in the current situation, Saudi Arabia is in the same strategic boat as Israel is in facing the Iranian threat."

    Besides the new fighters for Saudi Arabia, the U.S. plans to upgrade an additional 70 of the kingdom's existing F-15s. State Department and Pentagon officials told lawmakers the sales also will include 190 helicopters, including Apaches and Black Hawks, as well as an array of missiles, bombs, delivery systems and accessories such as night-vision goggles and radar warning systems.

    Congress has 30 days to block the deal, which was first revealed in September but has been in negotiations for months. U.S. officials say they aren't expecting significant opposition.

    Iran, meanwhile, has concentrated on its missile arsenal overseen by the powerful Revolutionary Guard. Its solid-fuel Sajjil missile has a reported range of more than 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) -- within range of Israel and all main U.S. bases in the region.

    Iran's navy has staged war games in the Gulf and announced major additions to its fleet, including three Iranian-built submarines designed to operate in the Gulf's shallow waters.

    It marks the Gulf as a buyer's market for arms, led by the U.S. as the dominant Western military power from Kuwait to Oman. Throughout the Gulf, Washington counts on access to Arab allies' air bases, logistics hubs and the Bahrain headquarters of America's naval powerhouse in the region -- the U.S. 5th Fleet.

    A report last month by the U.S. General Accountability Office said Washington approved $22 billion worth of military equipment transfers to the six Gulf Arab states between fiscal 2005 and 2009 through a Pentagon-managed program.

    More than half was earmarked for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including a $6.5 billion deal in 2009 for the UAE to buy the Patriot missile defense system.

    The UAE agreement was the largest single arms approval during the five-year period -- but is dwarfed by the proposed Saudi deal.

    The researcher Wezeman said Iran is clearly the top perceived threat for the Gulf Arabs, but there are background concerns about Iraq's stability and the unrest in neighboring Yemen that includes Shiite Hawthi rebels and Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida. The Saudi military was drawn into rare fighting in northern Yemen starting late last year, using airstrikes and artillery to battle a Hawthi rebellion that was spilling across the border.

    "Of course it's against Iran. Of course it's against Yemen," said Wezeman. "You can read between the lines ...but there are not any official statements about it."

    Wezeman's group issued a report this month that estimates the eight nations ringing the Gulf -- including rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia -- accounted for 10 percent of all conventional weapons imports between 2005-2009.

    The appetite was on display earlier this month when envoys from more than 50 U.S. defense and aerospace firms held talks in Abu Dhabi, where they were welcomed by the UAE's minister of foreign trade at an opulent hotel on the shores of the Gulf.

    As the American defense budget tightens, the Gulf's deep pockets beckon.

    "This is a critical time for our companies abroad as the U.S. defense budget continues to face pressures at home," said a statement from Lawrence Farrell, head of the National Defense Industrial Association based outside Washington.

    Jane Kinninmont, a Middle East and Africa specialist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said concerns over Iran are the primary motivation for the Saudi arms expansion. But she wonders how much the untested Gulf forces rattle Iranian commanders who are almost all veterans of the 1980-88 war with Iraq.

    "I would not be surprised if the Iranians are pretty cynical about the armies here," she said during an interview in Dubai. "To put it bluntly, they've fought a war."

    © Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  4. #14
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    I wonder if the Iranians understand that by posturing like this they're actually supporting US defense industries.

  5. #15
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    http://www.spacewar.com/reports/For_...lenge_999.html

    U.S. plans to sell Saudi Arabia advanced weapons systems worth $60 billion to counter Iran could turn out to be more of a problem than a panacea. The Saudis, unlike the Israelis, have always had problems absorbing high-tech Western systems since they began buying state-of-the-art war machines in the 1970s.
    Right now, they already have more top-line equipment than they can effectively use, such as an air force with more aircraft than it has front-line pilots or commanders able to deploy them in combat.
    Saudi Arabia traditionally bankrolls part of Pakistan's military purchases and in return gets experienced Pakistan pilots to fly its U.S. and British combat jets, as well as seasoned naval personnel to run its two-sea navy.
    "Militarily … Riyadh's challenge is not a matter of hardware: Saudi Arabia already fields a broad spectrum of some of the highest-end and most modern military equipment in the region," the U.S. global security consultancy Stratfor commented.
    "Instead, its challenge is fielding that hardware. With deliveries years away, the new deal will do little to balance the resurgent Iranian regime in the near-term, and prolongs Saudi Arabia's heavy dependence on U.S. defense support."
    It could take a decade for the Americans to deliver the package of Boeing F-15 Eagle fighters, Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter gunships and precision-guided munitions to the Saudis.
    So it's unlikely the Iranians are quaking in their boots at the prospect of their main rival in the Persian Gulf region being deluged with top-line weaponry.
    And, in the end, it is doubtful that it will make Saudi firepower any more potent than it is already unless the Saudis upgrade its military leadership and doctrine and develop professional cadres able to use high-tech weapons competently.
    "The immaturity of the Saudi training and doctrine and underlying issues with manpower are pervasive," Stratfor declared. "Such issues can take a generation to even begin to resolve …
    "If the new hardware is accompanied with serious reform, then … the Saudis military might become a significant force. Until then, for all its military hardware, Saudi Arabia will remain relatively weak in terms of defense."
    Most of its $34 billion defense and security budget is spent on maintaining and upgrading large stocks of air, land and naval equipment purchased since the 1970s.
    Most of this work is carried out by an army of expatriate specialists from Western defense manufacturers because the Saudis can't do it themselves. So the influx of more advanced equipment is likely to strain Saudi resources even further.
    King Abdallah has over the last year or so taken charge of all defense purchases in an apparent effort to reduce the power of the Defense Ministry as the health of the long-serving minister, his half-brother Crown Prince Sultan, has deteriorated.
    The monarch personally conducted much of the negotiations for the U.S. arms package.
    For one thing, he has long sought to stamp out rampant corruption in the arms procurement system, in which colossal kickbacks are made to Saudi officials.
    But Abdallah may have other considerations in mind. He commands the National Guard, or SANG, a 100,000-strong force drawn from tribes loyal to the monarchy. It's the king's private army, totally separate from the 140,000-strong regular forces controlled by the Defense Ministry.
    SANG traditionally has been a light mechanized force. But Abdallah wants to give it more firepower with armor and artillery and has ordered his eldest son Mutaib, the SANG commander, to carry out a major $3 billion reorganization.
    The AH-60 Apache gunships and other systems in the U.S. package are clearly earmarked for this force, whose traditional mission has been to protect the royal family. It is also expected to be redeployed to protect strategic oil installations as well.
    "Like many Gulf Arab states, the Saudi regime has long feared its own military more than any external threat," Stratfor observed. "The Saudis have relied on the United States to deter and defend against external threats.
    "While military interests receive generous allotments of money and modern defense hardware, they have lacked the organization and leadership to employ that equipment effectively.
    "In many cases, they have been kept deliberately weak doctrinally and institutionally to prevent them from becoming capable of mounting a coup."
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  6. #16

    SANG, a 100,000-strong force drawn from tribes loyal to the monarchy
    Is that statement correct? I thought the SANG is comprised mostly from Pakastani's for the simple fact they are NOT Nationals and hence do not have much possibility of conflicting Loyalties...............

  7. #17

    SANG has always been the Najudi militia loyal to the Sauds formerly known as the Ikhwan. The Saudi Army has historically had several brigades of Pakistanis. Interestingly the Saudi Royal Guard which reports only to the King will now have its own AH-64 squadron.

  8. #18

    Yeah looked it up as well.........an AH64 sure is a good way to make sure your Royal Decree is adhered to........

  9. #19

    I always thought that establishing shot in the movie Kingdom where the FBI agents cars are escorted to a Saudi palace by AH-64s was overdone (actually a hotel in Abu Dhabi). Perhaps it was accurate!
    Last edited by Gubler, A.; 29-10-10 at 11:05 AM.

  10. #20

    HA! Yeah Kingdom overall was a pretty good movie of its type BUT Jennifer Garner running around in tight outfits was just, well, Hollywood! NEVER be allowed to happen in real life, FBI or not............still I could look at her all day, every day........

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