The US will be resupplying Saudi Arabia with Thousands of precision-guided weapons that include Boeing’s Joint Direct Attack munitions.
“Also included would be a resupply of Raytheon’s Paveway bombs,” Bloomberg quoted unnamed sources familiar with the proposal as saying.
The package is aimed at replenishing existing weapons, including those used in Saudi airstrikes in Yemen and the US might signal supply of more advanced systems in the coming months.
With Saudi King Salman due to visit President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday, the US has pledged to bolster the defenses of Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab nations after signing a nuclear accord with their Shiite rival Iran.
According to the news report, the State Department submitted the proposal informally in the second week of August in a customary effort to test reaction from key lawmakers 40 days in advance of submitting a formal public notification outlining specific quantities, companies and potential dollar values. Once a formal notice is submitted, Congress would have 30 days to review it.
While Saudi Arabia generally enjoys strong support in Congress, its intervention in Yemen has been controversial. Human Rights Watch has said Saudi “airstrikes have indiscriminately killed and injured civilians” in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and other cities since bombings began in March. Though some US officials have questioned the Saudi intervention, the Obama administration has provided intelligence and targeting information for the airstrikes.
Congress last week allowed the administration to proceed with a potential second sale to the kingdom of 600 Patriot-PAC-3 air defense missiles made by Lockheed Martin in a potential $5.4 billion deal.
That’s in addition to a prior sale of 202 missiles.