Military Review

Saudi Arabia - the preferred partner of the West?


By participating in military operations in Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is active in a wider conflict between Sunni and Shiite regimes that fight for their influence in the region. As the struggle becomes more fierce and fierce, and in the course of it civilians suffer, there are questions about the role of the West in these conditions.

Although the West is only an episodic player with its limited intervention, it still plays an important role in maintaining the military potential of the regimes in the Middle East and, in particular, Saudi Arabia.

Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, said President Obama "is the most enthusiastic arms dealer in Saudi Arabia for all of America’s history, Rescued from their sale a total of 110 billions of dollars from the moment his presidency began.

But this is not only the United States. The sums that Riyadh spends on Western military equipment are evidence that he is a very valuable client, for the sake of favor of which the governments of western countries climb from skin.

Ironically, the Wahhabi form of Islam, which Saudi Arabia exports all over the world and is funded by its oil magnates, is the source of much of the extremism that today unobstructedly captures the minds and souls of millions of people. The country is also one of the most repressive regimes and opposes most of the democratic values ​​promoted by the West.

But, if you want to get more information about why the Saudi regime is such a valuable customer and how deeply the West and industry are involved, here are some facts and figures about recent purchases in the field of ground weapons:

The Saudi army is eager to expand its fleet of major combat tanks up to 700 cars. The latest M1A1 / A2 tank deal with the United States for the Overseas Military Equipment Sales (FMS) program was announced in August. The Saudis buy 153 tanks worth $ 1,15 billion. Interestingly, 20 of them should replace tanks lost or damaged during the conflict in Yemen, where Saudi forces are fighting Hussite rebels. Several old M60 Patton tanks were lost, and according to some sources, from Iranian anti-tank missiles.

These additional vehicles will be added to the Saudi Army’s fleet consisting of 373 M1 Abrams tanks. Modernization of older platforms has proven to be a more profitable business over the past decades than regular sales of new weapons.

Contractor, US General Dynamics Land Systems, upgrades these tanks to the more modern standard M1A2S. These 373 vehicles worth a total of 2,9 billion dollars were purchased as part of the FMS program, the deal involves the purchase of 58 tanks M1A2S and the upgrading of another 315 units.

Tank orders are more than ever at the hands of GD, which has production facilities in Lima, Ohio, that need and must be loaded as the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have come to an end. The upgrades include Smith Industries navigation systems, Raytheon sights and fire control systems and Chrysler electrical systems.

In addition, the company is expected to supply LAV III 8x8 Saudi Army vehicles for a total of 10-13 billions of dollars.

Over the past 15 years, the company has already supplied the Saudi National Guard over 1000-like machines. Worth noting the two most recent deals: in 2007, 124 machines for 631 million dollars and the second in 2011 for 73 machines for 263 million dollars.

However, the contract with the army is expected to include significantly more cars. For some machines, the Belgian company Cockerill will deliver its CT-CV 105HP and CMCT towers.

Nexter, a French company, is supplying an unnamed amount of Aravis 73x4 patrol vehicles to Saudi Arabia with 4 armored vehicles, with plans to increase this number to 200 in subsequent contracts. The company also delivered the 32 155-mm Caesar self-propelled gun to the chassis of the Mercedes 6x6 truck in accordance with the 210 million dollar contract issued in the 2011 year. Earlier, the French have already delivered two batches of Caesar 80 and 20 installations.

Another French company, Renault, sold 100 VAB 4x4 armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia for approximately 40-50 million within a three billion contract with Paris. Originally, the cars were destined for Lebanon, but the deal did not go through and therefore Saudi Arabia took these armored cars to itself.

Saudi Arabia is also upgrading its obsolete M113 armored personnel carriers. She has been doing this since 2004, and has already updated half of the 2000 machines she plans to upgrade.

Turkish manufacturer FNSS (partly owned by the British BAE Systems) performs this work by supplying kits for installation on machines in Saudi Arabia. The last batch of 500 machines cost 360 millions of dollars to the Arabs. MTU supplied a certain number of engines, and Allison, respectively, their transmissions.

The Spanish company URO delivered 30 machines to Vamtac, and although Riyadh also ordered 950 BMP-3 armored vehicles from Russia, it is unlikely that the deal will be further developed, since the relationship of these countries is rather complicated.

And this is only a small part of the Saudis' efforts to re-equip their ground forces. Military cooperation with Western governments and defense departments has been going on for decades. In the land sector, cooperation is interesting in that weapons are bought for two separate armies, the Saudi army, also known as the royal Saudi ground forces and the National Guard of Saudi Arabia (SANG).

The Guard is an armed force that is directly subordinate to the royal family and is designed to keep it in power in the event that the loyalty of the army is questioned in the event of any internal difficulties.

The speed with which SANG develops and the funds invested in it indicate that the regime is preoccupied with recent dictatorships in other countries and wants to ensure its own survival. And this is only the sphere of ground weapons. The close defense ties between the Saudi ruling house and Western governments are based on a series of huge contracts for new and modernized tanks and armored vehicles that make Saudi ground forces the most modern in the region. But, we can confidently say that most of the investments and closer relations between the Saudi House and the West are based on the purchase of military aviation.

Funds spent on land weapons, it is a penny compared with the expenditure on the air force. Helicopters, fighters, bombers, and transport aircraft purchased from the United States and Europe, significantly outnumber the cost of ground vehicles and warships; in the military-air sphere, the contacts are very close.

As an illustration of this, December 13 Saudi Arabia received its first four of the 152 upgraded fighters Boeing F-15SA (Saudi, advanced).

But, the most significant event in this area in recent years has been the purchase of fighters, when the Saudi Air Force chose the Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role fighter to replace the Tornado and in addition to the existing one the fleet F-15C / D fighters. American made

These Typhoon fighters were taken from the party that BAE Systems had intended for the British Air Force, that is, the priority that the Saudis have here is perfectly visible. Initially, in 2007, a deal worth 8,86 billion dollars on a 72 aircraft delivered in three lots (three lots in 24) was finalized. This year, the second batch was delivered, and the third batch is in the process of implementation. BAE is negotiating the sale of another 48 aircraft, but suddenly thought about the human rights that complicate the relationship, and, therefore, the chances of a contract are not very high.

However, in 2012, BAE Systems signed a contract worth 2,5 billion for training aircraft, including 22 Hawk, 55 Pilatus PC-21, simulators and technical support. Delivery of Hawk aircraft was to begin at the end of last year after the delivery of the PC-21 aircraft was completed. The company also supplies the Cirrus SR22 aircraft.

Modernization of existing fighters remains the most profitable business for Western industry. The Saudi Air Force wants to retain around 2025 Tornado fighter jets for up to 84, with the aircraft themselves, associated weapons and electronic systems. The third stage of the modernization of 2,5 billion dollars was signed with BAE Systems in 2014 year. Raytheon supplies the Paveway IV bombs, MBDA with its Storm Shadow ammunition, and Thales Damocles suspension containers.

However, the largest deal of dollars between the United States and Saudi Arabia for 60 billion was announced in 2010 year. The largest section of the 29,4 contract worth a billion dollars was signed at 2011 on the 84 new Boeing F-15SA Strike Eagle, which also included upgrading the existing fleet. The first four aircraft, including two new F015SA and two upgraded F-15S, arrived at the Saudi Arabia 13 December. Saudi Air Forces already have X-NUMX F-59C, 15 F-21D and 15 F-68S fighters.

Outdated F-15 aircraft had already received new channels of communication under the previous contract for 34,8 million with Data Link Solutions (a joint venture between BAE Systems and Rockwell Collins) in 2007 and engines (2007-2008's contracts with GE Aviation total cost of 750 million dollars), but the last transaction led to the flow of new contracts.

In 2012, Goodrich (now UTC Aerospace) received 183 million dollars in outboard containers and logistic support, BAE Systems 367 million on electronic warfare systems, Boeing 18,4 million on the installation of eight containers. In 2013, Lockheed Martin received a contract worth 253,4 million on an unnamed topic, and a second contract worth 21,4 million for containers with target intelligence equipment and target designation as part of a long-term contract for these containers worth approximately 220 million dollars. Raytheon received three contracts worth 33,4 million for electronic and software. But ahead of the rest of the world here is Boeing, which secured 3,5 a billion dollars in the form of supplying kits for upgrading 68 F-15S aircraft to SA standard.

Saudi Arabia is also in the process of modernizing its helicopter fleet, which consists of shock, multi-purpose, universal and light helicopters manufactured by well-known Western firms.

Under the 2010 contract of the year, Saudi Arabia acquired Apache AH-60 Block III helicopters and corresponding weapons worth 64 billion. 9,7 helicopters are for the Saudi Guard, 10 for the ground forces and 24 for the Saudi National Guard, the second army to ensure the safety of the royal family.

The US Department of Defense in 2013 announced that one of the contracted Apache helicopters is estimated at 333 million dollars, and the modernization of the existing tens of millions.

Boeing has upgraded 12 Apache AH-64A attack helicopters (most likely national guard helicopters) to the “D” standard for about 400 million dollars. This contract with Lockheed Martin, issued in 2012, includes installation of sights worth 66,6 million dollars. He followed the previous year's contract worth 15,3 million. Saudi ground forces accepted deliveries of AH-64E in the “Guardian” variant from Boeing, and Lockheed Martin “jumped in” and delivered target systems for this variant on 2015 million dollars in 10.

Meanwhile, Boeing will supply the National Guard 24 light reconnaissance and attack helicopters AH-6i Little Bird under a contract worth 234,7 million, which was announced in 2014 year, although there was some delay here and the delivery of the helicopters is still pending.

In the 2008 year, the XHUMX UH-22L Blackhawk helicopter was contracted to the amount of 60 millions, but 286 machines are currently purchased. In the 24 year, the purchase of XHUMX UH-2010M transport helicopters, of which 60 of which will go to the National Guard, was also included as part of the purchase of 72 aircraft worth billions of dollars. The latest contract announced by 60 September 24 of the year includes the supply of helicopters worth 30 million by Sikorsky 2016.

Sikorsky has business in many countries and upgrades the 12 Blackhawk multipurpose S-70A helicopters to standard “L” with a total value of 60-80 million, and also supplies 10 Navy MH-60R helicopters for Saudi fleets at 145 million dollars. This part of the total 1,9 billion deal, which was announced in 2015, also includes the supply of many electronic, sensor and weapon systems to 11,8 millions from SAIC, 66 millions from Raytheon and 117 millions from Lockheed Martin.

MD Helicopters supplied 12 MD National Guard 530F National Guard aircraft worth 40,7 million; shipments ended in 2013.

With regard to transport aircraft, the Saudi air force wants to replace outdated military transport aircraft C-130E. A request for a program to sell weapons to foreign countries on new and modernized C-130 worth 6,7 billion was published in 2012 year. Contracts will be awarded in stages and Lockheed Martin has already received 2013 million and 2015 million in the X-NUMX and 181 years respectively for work on the C-662 aircraft. The first two KC-130 transporters were delivered early last year.

Saudi Arabia also buys eight An-132 military transport aircraft and 30 An-178 multipurpose transport aircraft from Ukraine. Some of them will be built in the country under an agreement with the Saudi state-owned company Taqina Aeronautics. Subcontracts were signed last year with Pratt & Whitney for engines and Liebherr Aerospace for air control systems, as well as Esterline CMC, Hamilton Sundstrand, Honeywell and Broetje-Automation. Both solutions can cost up to $ 90 million.

The air force is upgrading its five E-3A long-range radar detection and control aircraft in accordance with three main contracts. The largest newest avionics modernization program, Block 40 / 45, worth up to 2 billion, was announced in 2014 year. Previously, Boeing upgraded radar and command and control systems worth up to 400 millions, which was first announced in 2007 and ended this year. The main subcontractor here was Northrop Grumman, who grabbed a piece of at least 260 million worth. 49,2 million dollar communication terminals were added to 2007-2009 by Boeing and Data Link Solutions.

Saudi Arabian Air Force also bought Saab 2000 Erieye DRLO aircraft from Saab in 2010 for 667 millions, which was delivered in 2014 for the year.

Other aviation acquisitions include several Beechcraft King Air 350i light transport aircraft modified by Raytheon for reconnaissance, surveillance and information gathering. They are equipped with reconnaissance equipment worth 257 million dollars. The Air Force also bought three MultiRole Tanker Transport tankers from Airbus for a total of 500 millions.

Modern, well-equipped and well-funded air forces make Saudi Arabia a major regional player. Buying the latest aircraft, weapons, sensors, and computer systems from Western suppliers, the Saudi regime maintains friendships with several powerful friends and is an invaluable customer.

Until recently, Saudi Arabia avoided military operations, and now seeks to come to the fore, and not modestly remain in the role of extras. But, playing with its muscles in Yemen, and at the same time supporting certain groups in Syria, this country is becoming an increasingly uncomfortable partner for Western governments and industry.

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  1. aszzz888
    aszzz888 6 January 2017 06: 56
    There is nothing to be surprised, such a rich country can afford to arm itself as it wants and as far as the budget allows.
    And for this you need to look at the economic component of the Saudis, and everything will become clear.
  2. Same lech
    Same lech 6 January 2017 07: 00
    In the early days of 2016, Saudi authorities executed the death penalty for 47 people suspected of having links with terrorists. Among the outspoken radicals, the Shiite minority were among those executed.

    Heh heh privileged partner called ... practicing mass executions of people.
    Nothing confuses the West that human rights are violated.
    1. g1v2
      g1v2 6 January 2017 12: 42
      All these beautiful words about human rights, war crimes, etc. exist only for propaganda purposes. Who lost the war is the war criminal. Whoever doesn’t lie under the USA is the main enemy of human rights and the tyrant in general. It’s time to get used to it. request
      In my opinion, it is necessary to throw as many PTR, PZK and other buns as possible through the Persians to the Hussites and Saleh. The Saudis use only Western equipment, including the kind of burning Western equipment, ditched by the curved-armed Saudis, will work as anti-advertising to Western weapons and as our advertisement.
      1. Moryarty
        Moryarty 6 January 2017 13: 27
        Quote: g1v2
        In my opinion, it is necessary to throw as many PTR, PZK and other buns as possible through the Persians to the Hussites and Saleh.

        But this is not necessary. Do not forget that the Hussites are fanatics, and the supply of weapons to them can end badly.
        Do not step on the same rake as the Americans.
        Quote: g1v2
        The Saudis use only Western equipment, including the kind of burning Western equipment, ditched by the curved-armed Saudis, will work as anti-advertising to Western weapons and as our advertisement.

        It is already there. Thanks to illiterate Saudi warriors, anti-advertising is created.
    2. krops777
      krops777 6 January 2017 13: 58
      Nothing confuses the West that human rights are violated.

      For those who worship gold and money, human life is nothing.
    3. meshorer
      meshorer 6 January 2017 14: 36
      It remains to be hoped that Trump will have the wisdom not to deliver the F-35 as an Arab. And F-15 deliveries are not so critical, in which case they will not be able to withstand our F-35
      1. Zaurbek
        Zaurbek 8 January 2017 09: 08
        The versions of the F-15 that sell to the Arabs are not much inferior to the F-35 ...
  3. knn54
    knn54 6 January 2017 07: 03
    How can one be a privileged partner with an unscrupulous West.
    The client is "rich Buratino" and that's it.
    1. Same lech
      Same lech 6 January 2017 07: 31
      How can one be a privileged partner with an unscrupulous West.

      Maybe .... two pair boots.
      Moreover, the Saudis actively use high-precision weapons of the West against the Hussites, killing women, children and the elderly without any moral regrets.

      The West and the Hague Tribunal completely ignore these crimes.
  4. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 6 January 2017 07: 31
    West is just an episodic player with its limited intervention

    And here I disagree with the author. The West, and specifically the United States, does not play an episodic role at all. The fact that Obama allegedly fell out with Saudi Arabia raises serious doubts. No matter how it turned out to be a "big political game" that was ultimately directed against Russia. I personally had doubts after the emissaries of this country, represented by not the last persons, suddenly became frequent visitors to Moscow. Why would you? After some statements made by Obama? Representatives of the SA were holding some negotiations with Moscow, but at the same time they did not stop their military operations in Yemen with the tacit support of the United States and almost complete silence of the UN. They rightly say that the East is a delicate matter. I hope that our diplomacy will eventually outplay the bloodthirsty Eastern monarchy.
  5. Banishing liberoids
    Banishing liberoids 6 January 2017 08: 51
    In Lohov loot for loot-it remains to the United States they sold their old aircraft carriers fool
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 6 January 2017 09: 57
      will buy and the joy will come with them - Like the USA "and" Like China ".
    APASUS 6 January 2017 10: 06
    I always liked the concept of a privileged partner of the West.
    This almost automatically forgives cutting off heads, erases the observance of individual rights and freedoms for the country, removes the concept of freedom in the media.
    Moreover, the West does not forgive non-privileged partners even upholding its internal interests, religious and national characteristics.
  7. satum
    satum 6 January 2017 10: 33
    Yes, the Saudis, not only big buyers of military equipment, but also terrorists stashchiki. Of course, together with Turkey, Qatar and Israel
  8. Mar.Tirah
    Mar.Tirah 6 January 2017 10: 52
    Let the Saudis play even with the muscles, even with me .. in my pocket. I was in Yemen during the first war, and I know that they (the Saudis) have nothing to shine there. They have already taught children to fight with them from the age of three. Much has already been written. But Russia maintains neutrality. Therefore, there is no supply of weapons to Yemen. But they are more or less successfully destroying the modern army pumped by American weapons of Saudi Arabia, still old Soviet weapons. Here they are raging from powerlessness, striking at the civilian defenseless population. But such is US policy, to kill people of other nationalities with their own hands.
    1. padded jacket
      padded jacket 6 January 2017 16: 05
      Quote: Mar. Tira
      But they are more or less successfully destroying the modern army pumped up by American weapons of Saudi Arabia, still old Soviet weapons

      Quite right, the Saudis, in spite of their modern weapons, do not have the will to win, and as warriors they are just a "gang" armed with extremely advanced but useless toys.
      The Houthis and the Yemeni army "drive" the troops of Saudi Arabia and its allies.
  9. Odysseus
    Odysseus 6 January 2017 11: 02
    And it seems simply unbelievable that a country with such a huge amount of the most modern weapons, with complete air supremacy, and a large number of allies and mercenaries cannot win the war, not even with the whole, but with a part of the Yemen army in conditions of its complete isolation from any help from outside.
    The most brilliant confirmation of the old truth is that it is not technology that fights, but people, and that the quality of infantry and the motivation of the population are of decisive importance in 99% of conflicts and wars.
  10. meshorer
    meshorer 6 January 2017 14: 41
    Quote: Odyssey
    The most brilliant confirmation of the old truth is that it is not technology that fights, but people, and that the quality of infantry and the motivation of the population are of decisive importance in 99% of conflicts and wars.

    Odyssey. The highest quality infantry in a month of fire exposure and lack of logistics will turn into the most low-quality)))
    1. APASUS
      APASUS 6 January 2017 17: 56
      Quote: meshorer
      Odyssey. The highest quality infantry in a month of fire exposure and lack of logistics will turn into the most low-quality)))

      War does not seem to imply a lack of logistics, otherwise it is banditry, terrorism, acts of intimidation.
      In normal equipment, you can’t take more zinc from cartridges with you, with intensive shooting for half an hour of battle
    2. Odysseus
      Odysseus 7 January 2017 04: 10
      Quote: meshorer
      Odyssey. The highest quality infantry in a month of fire exposure and lack of logistics will turn into the most low-quality)))

      Well said. But the question is, why doesn’t it turn out in this case?
      And then there is still some internal logistics there.
  11. Awaz
    Awaz 6 January 2017 18: 59
    in fact, in the USA, the actual production that still remains in the country is the military-industrial complex. So they pump loot from those of whom it is possible. For these unexpectedly rich cameleers, buying a new expensive equipment is tantamount to buying toys for children (they love it by love), but the loot is paid. Even the sons of the chosen people, for some reason, are not very indignant at the armament of the Arabs. And so, logically, the weapon against them is intended primarily, if you think sensibly. And in this case, along with the specific technique and supply, they are trained and trained just the same. As a result, we see what we see: at first they gave the Arabs money, then they exchange the same money for expensive toys, which are not worth what the Arabs pay for them, and they still can’t and will not learn how to use them ...
  12. demiurg
    demiurg 7 January 2017 12: 22
    The Saudis were not allowed to fight, free money corrupted the country. Mercenaries will also not decide anything, they also do not want to die.
    I recall Egypt. How much modern technology was thrown there, all in vain.
  13. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 8 January 2017 09: 14
    There is a book: Confession of the economic killer. everything is written about the relationship with the Saudis ....