July 22, 2006

Pentagon okays $276 mln Saudi military deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Friday approved an
agreement that will let Saudi Arabia buy up to $276 million in
spare parts for its M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting
Vehicles, and other equipment from U.S. stocks.

In a mandatory notification to Congress, the Defense
Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees major arms sales,
said the deal would help improve the security of Saudi Arabia.

Congress has 30 days to block the deal, although such
action is rare.

"The uninterrupted supply of spare parts will allow Saudi
Arabia to keep its vehicle fleet at the highest state of
readiness," said the agency, which oversees major arms sales.

On Thursday, DSCA notified Congress that it had approved
the sale to Saudi Arabia of 24 UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters,
radios, armored vehicles and other military equipment worth
more than $6 billion.

DSCA said the spare parts deal would take place under a
Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Agreement. Under the deal,
Saudi Arabia pays for options worth up to $276 million, which
it can then use to place orders for spare parts.

It approved $461 million under a similar logistics deal
with Saudi Arabia in March 1991 during the first Gulf War.

It said the spare parts would be procured from the many
contractors providing similar items to U.S. forces.