The US and Saudi Arabia are reportedly intensifying negotiations over arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars
Washington is working to push through contracts potentially worth tens of billions of dollars in arms sales to the Saudi’s ahead of President Donald Trump’s trip to the kingdom this month.
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Saudi Arabia will be the first stop on Donald Trump’s first foreign trip since taking the office.
Sources told Reuters the arms package includes a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system from Lockheed Martin, similar to the one being made operational in South Korea, which costs around $1 billion.
The countries have also been negotiating over a C2BMC software system and a package of satellite capabilities, also provided by Lockheed. The Bradley Fighting Vehicle and M109 artillery vehicle manufactured by BAE Systems PLC could also be included in the package, sources told Reuters.
There are reportedly more than $1 billion worth of munitions, including armor-piercing Penetrator Warheads and Paveway laser-guided bombs made by the Raytheon Co.
The deal could also contain contracts that have been under discussion for years but was never finalized. One of the newly negotiated contracts was previously approved by the State Department in 2015, and includes four multi-mission surface combat ships costing $11.5 billion.
If the deal is sealed, it would be the first time the US has sold a new small surface warship to a foreign country in decades.
Trump repeatedly made promises on the campaign trail to create manufacturing jobs in the US. However, any major arms sale to a foreign country is subject to oversight by Congress, which will have to decide if such a huge sale would cause Israel to lose its military edge over its neighbors.
The US has been the main supplier of military supplies to Saudi Arabia and provides maintenance and training to Saudi security forces.
The two allies are looking to improve relations, which were strained after former President Barack Obama signed a nuclear deal with Iran.
Sources told Reuters that Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia could be the catalyst for the arms negotiations to accelerate.