Saudi Arabia is set to ink an agreement with U.S. government contractor Lockheed Martin for the defense giant to sell two warships to Riyadh.
For Lockheed Martin to sell the ships to Saudi Arabia, they must clear the sale through the United States government, and that process appears to have been completed. The sale value is expected to reach far over $1 billion dollars, according to Reuters.
The Royal Saudi Navy’s current apparatus consists of handed-down U.S. warships, and the new frigates will drastically improve Riyadh’s capabilities at sea.
The sale should be complete by the end of the year, an unnamed source familiar with the upcoming sale told Reuters.
The news comes as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, President Obama’s counterpart, is set to meet with the POTUS this week in Washington, D.C.
Although there has been public trouble with regard to the Riyadh-Washington alliance as of late, especially concerning different viewpoints about the Iranian nuclear deal, a source told Reuters: “We’re not seeing that any strains in the U.S.-Saudi government to government relationship are inhibiting the business relationships.”
“The Saudis remain very interested in buying U.S. technology,” the Reuters source concluded.
Saudi Arabia is also set to buy 10 U.S.-made 10MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, at the cost of $1.9 billion dollars, according to the report. In addition to the helicopter sale, the Saudis are also finalizing an agreement that would see Riyadh acquire $5.4 billion dollars worth of Patriot missiles.
And in 2014, the Saudis showed a willingness to spend billions on military supplies, with the $13 billion purchase of light armored vehicles along with a recent $33.4 billion dollar acquisition of 84 F-15 fighter jets.