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State Dept. approves $1.3B sale of Howitzers to Saudi Arabia

The foreign military sale includes 180 M109A5/A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer structures which will be converted to 177 M109A6 Paladin Howitzer systems.

By James LaPorta
Artillerymen of Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division calibrate their M109A6 Paladins at the Udairi Range Complex just outside of Camp Buehring in 2015. Photo by Spc. Gregory T. Summers/U.S. Army
Artillerymen of Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division calibrate their M109A6 Paladins at the Udairi Range Complex just outside of Camp Buehring in 2015. Photo by Spc. Gregory T. Summers/U.S. Army

April 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department said it has approved a possible foreign military sale to Saudi Arabia of 155mm M109A5/A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer structures.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the $1.31 billion sale, for which Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are the primary contractors. Congress was notified of the possible sale on Thursday.

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The possible foreign military sale would provide Saudi Arabia with "180 155mm M109A5/A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer structures for conversion to 177 M109A6 Paladin Howitzer systems."

The M109A6 Paladin Howitzer system is a self-propelled, indirect-fire support weapon operated by a crew of four.

The deal also includes three Fire Support Combined Arms Tactical Trainers static training, 180 M2 HB .50 Cal Machine Guns, and eight Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems Devices, along with other products and support services, including material to aid in upgrading the Howitzer systems.

The U.S. government says the proposed foreign military sale "will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States" by strengthening the defensive capabilities of Saudi Arabia, who is a contributing partner to stability in the Middle East, the State Department said.

The State Department assessed that the sale would not alter the basic military balance in the region.

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