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Persian Gulf Arms Orders Top $35 billion Since December

PARIS --- The Pentagon on Friday notified Congress that it plans to sell $4.6 billions’ worth of new weapons to Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This latest batch of orders, added to several others announced earlier in July, brings the total value of arms purchases by Persian Gulf states since December to over $35 billion.

This amount, which includes only deals that have been announced or otherwise made public, is divided between the United States ($11 billion), France (over $10 billion) and the United Kingdom (about $13 billion). France is negotiating additional deals with Saudi Arabia estimated to be worth upwards of $6 billion.

In the broader region, the US is also rushing weapons to Israel, with at least four aircraft in the past week transiting through Scottish airports carrying GBU-28 and other air-launched weapons, according to reports by the New York Times and British media. The Pentagon also notified Congress on July 20 that it planned to supply Israel with JP-8 aviation fuel worth $210 million.

The latest US sales notified to Congress on July 28 include:

- Saudi Arabia: 58 M-1 Abrams tanks, to be rebuilt and upgraded along with 315 other M-1 tanks already in Saudi service, for $2.9 billion;

- Saudi Arabia: upgrade of 12 Boeing AH-64A Apache attack helicopters to AH-64D Apache Longbow standard for $400 million. (The Saudis will end up paying more than $30 million for each Apache upgrade);

- United Arab Emirates: 24 UH-60M Black Hawk battlefield helicopters, for $808 million;

- Bahrain: 9 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters for $252 million;

- Oman: 30 Javelin anti-tank missile launchers and 250 missiles for $48 million;

- Jordan: refurbishment and upgrade of over 1,000 M-113 armored personnel carriers for $156 million. (This works out to a very low $150,000 per vehicle).

Just one week earlier, on July 20-21, the Pentagon notified Congress of its intention to sell to Saudi Arabia:

- 724 Light Armored Vehicles for $5.8 billion;
- 24 UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters for $350 million;
- armoured vehicle spare parts for $276 million.

Saudi Arabia on July 21 also signed a framework agreement to buy an extended range of modern equipment from France, including more than 7 billion euros’ ($8.9 billion) worth of helicopters as well as tanker aircraft (approx. 900 million euros; $1.1 billion) and self-propelled artillery (400 million euros, $510 million). Additional deals are to due follow for Leclerc tanks, ships and submarines (4 billion euros; $5.1 billion), while the sale of as many as 48 Dassault Rafale combat aircraft is also being discussed.

Saudi Arabia is also finalizing the purchase of up to 72 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft from the United Kingdom, worth an estimated £ 7 billion ($ 13 billion) including weapons, spares and support.

Earlier this year, the Pentagon also notified Congress of the planned sale of 60 Javelin missile launchers and 180 missiles to Bahrain ($42 million), while on June 27 Boeing was awarded a $50 million contract to deliver an unspecified number of Avenger air-defense units to Egypt.

Major identified arms sales to Middle East, 12/05 to 7/06

Saudi Arabia U.S. M-1 tank upgrade$   2,900 mNotified July 28315+58  tanks
 U.S. AH-64A upgrade$      400 mNotified July 2812 helicopters
 U.S. 724 LAV$   5,800 mNotified July 20725 vehicles
 U.S. 24 UH-60L$      350 m Notified July 20 
 U.S. AFV spare parts$      276 mNotified July 21 
 U.K. EF Typhoon$ 13,000 m  **Ann. 21/12/0548 aircraft  **
 France 142 helicopters$   8,900 m  **Ann. July 21estimate
 France 2-3 A330 tankers$   1,100 m  **Ann. July 21estimate
 France Caesar SP arty$      510 m  **Signed July 2076 guns
U.A.E.U.S. 24 UH-60M $      808 mNotified July 28 
Bahrain U.S.   9 UH-60M$      252 mNotified July 28 
 U.S. 60 Javelin LU$        42 mNotified July 21Inc 180 missiles
Oman U.S. 30 Javelin LU$        48 mNotified July 28Inc 250 missiles
Jordan U.S. M-113 upgrade$      156 mNotified July 28> 1,000 vehicles
Egypt U.S. Avenger SAMs$        50 mContact  June 27Number n/a
  TOTAL$ 34,592 m  

(Sources: US DoD; research; Boeing Co.; ** indicates estimated quantity or price)

-ends- Persian Gulf Arms Orders Top $35 billion Since December