Source / Courtesy: China Daily
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia confirmed on Friday that it has signed a deal to buy 84 new US fighter jets to maximize its defense capabilities as tension between the United States and Iran escalates following Teheran’s threat to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz.
The $29.4 billion deal, which was signed on Dec 24 in Riyadh, will supply 84 new Boeing F-15SA aircraft, modernize 70 existing planes, and also includes munitions, spare parts, training and maintenance contracts, US officials said.
The deal, the single priciest US arms sale to a foreign country, was first unveiled in October 2010 as part of a $60 billion US arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
It “ensures the kingdom receives the highest possible defense capabilities to protect its people and land”, Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA quoted a defense ministry spokesman as saying.
The announcement came amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States after Teheran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers if Washington implements new sanctions over its nuclear program.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the US State Department, said on Thursday that Iran had exhibited “irrational behavior” by threatening to close the strait.