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Saudi Arabia seek U.S. helicopter deal

Saudi Arabia has asked the United States for UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters.

By Richard Tomkins
Saudi Arabia seek U.S. helicopter deal
A UH-60 Black Hawk of the Saudi Arabian Army. Photo by USAF Tech Sgt. H. H. Deffner.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia is seeking UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and associated equipment from the United States through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

Notification of the proposed $495 million deal, which has already won State Department approval, was transmitted to Congress by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

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"The proposed sale will make a positive contribution to the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important regional partner that has been, and continues to be, a significant U.S. partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," DSCA said.

"The Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command plans to use these helicopters for search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian support, counter-terrorism, and combat operations."

The Saudi shopping list is for nine Black Hawks; 21 engines for the aircraft; 20 Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation System; 12 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning Systems; and 20 M240H 7.62mm machine guns.

Also included are aircraft survivability gear, M134 Mini-guns; electro-optical infrared systems; internal auxiliary fuel tanks; patient litter system; and ballistic armor protection systems.

Spare and repair parts and logistic services would also be part of the deal.

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Sikorsky Aircraft and General Electric Aircraft Company would be the principal contractors.

"Implementation of this sale will require an estimated 40 to 60 U.S. government and contractor representatives to travel to Saudi Arabia for up to 60 months for equipment de-processing, fielding, system checkout, training, and technical logistics support," DSCA said.

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