Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are seeking to acquire advanced air-launched weapons worth a combined $10.8 billion, to equip their respective fleets of Boeing F-15 and Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters.
In total, the Gulf states have requested the purchase of more than 9,500 individual weapons, to be supplied by US manufacturers Boeing and Raytheon, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) says.
US Air Force
Worth an estimated $6.8 billion, the larger of the potential deals would provide the Royal Saudi Air Force with a new batch of weapons to equip its growing F-15 fleet. Riyadh has a current active inventory of 149 examples, according to Flightglobal’s MiliCAS database, with its 70 S-variant aircraft to undergo modernisation to an enhanced SA configuration. Boeing is also under contract to supply a further 84 new-build F-15SAs to the service, with the first of these having made its debut flight in the USA in February 2013 (above).
Weapons requested include 1,050 AGM-84H/L SLAM-ER/Harpoon Block II cruise missiles and 1,000 GBU-39 small diameter bombs (SDB) from Boeing, plus 973 Raytheon AGM-154C JSOW glide bombs.
“The armaments in this request are separate and distinct from those in the F-15SA letter of offer and acceptance, but are intended for that platform,” the DSCA says. Congressional backing is being sought for the requested sale, which it adds “will improve Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future regional threats”.
The UAE has requested a roughly $4 billion deal to acquire 5,000 GBU-39 SDBs, 1,200 JSOWs and 300 SLAM-ERs. “The sale of these munitions is in support of the UAE’s fleet of F-16s,” the DSCA says. Some 78 Block 60-standard F-16E/Fs are in service with the UAE air force, MiliCAS records, with the service also expected to acquire an additional batch from Lockheed.
US Air Force
In a notification to Congress, the DSCA says the proposed sale would “improve the UAE’s military readiness and capabilities”, while also noting that the Gulf state “continues host-nation support of vital US forces stationed at Al Dhafra air base”.