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US Approves $650M Missile Sale to Saudi Arabia
AIM-120B Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, and a AGM-88 High-Speed Antiradiation Missile, mounted to the wing pylon of a US Air Force South Carolina Air National Guard F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 157th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, at a forward deployed location during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (SMSGT Edward E. Snyder, USAF/The U.S. National Archives)

US Approves $650M Missile Sale to Saudi Arabia

The United States approved the sale of air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia. The $650 million sale of AIM-120C-7/C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and related equipment was announced on Thursday by the Pentagon. The defense contractor Raytheon, based in Massachusetts, is the principal contractor for the sale. The sale does not require congressional approval.

The announcement of the missile sale comes more than a month after the US approved a $500 million helicopter maintenance deal with Saudi Arabia.

US President Joe Biden criticized Saudi Arabia when he was on the campaign trail, accusing it of prolonging the civil war in Yemen and calling out the crown prince over the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.  Saudi Arabia, which has come under increasing attack by the Iran-backed Houthis that have taken over large swathes of Yemen, proposed a ceasefire in Yemen in March.

The missile sale is “fully consistent with the Administration’s pledge … to lead with diplomacy to end the conflict in Yemen while also ensuring Saudi Arabia has the means to defend itself from Iranian-backed Houthi air attacks,” a State Department spokesperson said, according to Al Jazeera.


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