Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Saudis Examine Major F-15 Purchase From US

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Saudi Arabia is the only Arab state contiguous to Israel to maintain a full state of war with Israel since 1948 without ever agreeing to any cease fire or peace treaty with the Jewish state. In the context of that war, the Saudi government has been negotiating for a new major order of the F-15 fighter jets from the United States.

Riyad, the capital of Saudi Arabia, has been discussing the procurement of up to 72 advanced F-15 fighters. The Saudi order could include the purchase of Boeing's latest stealth design for the F-15, known as the Silent Eagle.

The U.S. defense Web site “Buzz,” citing industry and defense sources, reported that the U.S. Defense Department would approve any Saudi request for the F-15. The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which processes requests for major weapons procurement, has not confirmed the Saudi interest.

Boeing has reported interest by Israel and Saudi Arabia of the F-15 Silent Eagle, which remains in the design stage. The Silent Eagle was meant to comprise an F-15E platform modified to reduce its radar signature. The platform would also contain internal conformal fuel tanks.

Saudi Arabia has been operating about 150 F-15s, procured in deals with the United States in the 1970s and 1990s.

In 2008, Riyad received approval for Joint Direct Attack Munitions tail kits for the F-15 fleet.

Riyad has sought to modernize its F-15 fleet as well as bolster defense relations with the United States. The Saudis have also been preparing for the first deliveries of the Eurofighter Typhoon, a multi-role combat fighter, as part of an $8.9 billion deal with BAE Systems, a global defense, security and aerospace company.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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