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Saudi Arabia buys Sidewinder missiles

TUCSON, April 3 (UPI) -- The Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force has contracted Raytheon for the company to deliver AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles.

U.S. company Raytheon was awarded the contract after an agreement between Saudi Arabian authorities and the U.S. government. Under the deal, Raytheon will deliver an undisclosed number of tactical and training AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared-guided missiles to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

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Officials say the air-to-air missiles will go to support Royal Saudi Air Force's fleet of F-15 fighter aircraft.

"The AIM-9X will provide our Saudi Arabian allies with unparalleled capability, a small logistical footprint and ease of integration onto its existing fighter aircraft," Capt. Jeffrey Penfield, U.S. Navy air-to-air missile program manager, said in a statement.

"AIM-9X has demonstrated its reliability during ongoing operational deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and in extensive user-driven test programs with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force."

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