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08:06 AM, April 6, 2018
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US Approves Sale of 180 Self-Propelled Howitzers to Saudi Arabia for $1.3B
M109 Self-propelled howitzer (Image: Wikipedia)

The US State Department has approved to Saudi Arabia of 155mm M109A5/A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer structures for conversion to M109A6 Paladin Howitzer systems for an estimated cost of $1.31 billion.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale Friday.

The Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of 180 155mm M109A5/A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer structures for conversion to 177 155mm M109A6 Paladin Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer systems; three Fire Support Combined Arms Tactical Trainers (FSCATT) static training devices; 180 M2 HB .50 Cal Machine Guns; and eight Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (AFATDS).

Also included are M109A5/A6 overhaul, conversion and refurbishment services; Special Tools and Test Equipment; Basic Issue Items (BII); Driver's Vision Enhancer (DVE) Wide system; Program Management Support; Verification Testing; System Technical Support; Transportation; spare and repair parts; communications equipment; personnel training and training equipment; tool and test equipment; repair and return; publications and technical documentation; Quality Assurance Team (QAT); U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important partner which has been and continues to be a leading contributor of political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. This sale will increase the Royal Saudi Land Force's (RSLF) interoperability with US forces and conveys US commitment to Saudi Arabia's security and armed forces modernization.

The proposed sale will improve Saudi Arabia's capability to meet current and future threats and provide greater security for its border regions and critical infrastructure. The RSLF currently has M109A2, A3 and A5 howitzers in its inventory.  These additional modernized howitzers will enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to support its deployed forces and defend its borders.  Saudi Arabia will have no difficulty absorbing these vehicles into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

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