Washington Beef up the Gulf States with 10,000 Strike Weapons Worth US$10 Billion

SLAM-ER long-range anti-ship / air-to-surface missiles carried on the F-15E variant slated for the Korean F-15K

SLAM-ER long-range anti-ship / air-to-surface missiles carried on the F-15E variant slated for the Korean F-15K

In another mega weapons sales Washington is equipping Saudi Arabia and the UAE with nearly 10,000 strike weapons – the JSOW-C standoff-weapon, air-launched Harpoon anti-ship missiles, Standoff Land Attack Missiles-Expanded Response’ (SLAM-ER) – a land-attack variant of the Harpoon and and Small Diameter Bombs.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to acquire new strike weapons from the USA, to equip the fleet of new and modernized F-16SA strike fighters. According to notification to congress by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the total cost of missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support could sum up to US$6.8 billion. In December 2011 Saudi Arabia signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) to purchase 84 new and 70 refurbished F-15SA multi-role fighter aircraft and associated weapons. The weapons included in this request are additional to that order. An additional request at a cost of four billion US$ was announced in parallel to the Saudi. This second request came from the United Arab Emirate, pertaining to armament acquisition for its F-16 Block 60 fighters.

According to the agency, the Government of Saudi Arabia has requested 650 AGM-84H electro-optically guided Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), 973 AGM-154C Joint Stand Off Weapons (JSOW) and and 1000 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) GPS guided weapons and 400 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles . The Saudi Air Force will also get 60 AWW-13 Data Link pods to support the SLAM-ER with ‘man in the loop’ assisting the electro-optical guidance. To support weapon qualification and the acquisition will also include 40 CATM-84H Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM), 20 ATM-84H SLAM-ER Telemetry Missiles, 4 Dummy Air Training Missiles, 10 JSOW CATMs, 40 Harpoon CATMs, 20 ATM-84L Harpoon Exercise Missiles, 36 SDB Captive Flight and Load Build trainers.

To enhance their F-16 Block 60 Desert Falcons, the Government of the United Arab Emirates has requested up to 5,000 GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) (with BRU-61 carriage systems), 1,200 AGM-154C Joint StandOff Weapon (JSOW) and 300 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missiles-Expanded Response (SLAM-ER), expanding the fighters’ air-to-surface and maritime strike capability. The request also includes 30 AWW-13 Data Link pods. To facilitate the integration of SDB on the Block 60 the UAE will add eight SDB Guided Test Vehicles and 16 SDB Captive Flight vehicles for flight testing verification. SImilar to the Saudi program, the UAE will also receive the necessary hardware to train and support those systems.

The prime contractors associated with those programs are Boeing (GBU-39(B), AGM-84H and AGM-84L) and Raytheon (AGM-154, AWW-13). The two companies also shared the majority of multi-billion orders for the F-15SA and their integral (air/air and air/ground) weapons.

The array of weapons payload carried by the F-15SE - the Saudi F-15SA variant is based on the SE configuration. Photo: Boeing

The array of weapons payload carried by the F-15SE – the Saudi F-15SA variant is based on the SE configuration. Photo: Boeing

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