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1.4 billion dollars in possible US arms sales to Mideast announced

Egypt is requesting 164 Stinger Block I missiles, and 25 Avenger launchers.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 4, 2007
The Pentagon notified Congress Thursday of possible sales of missiles, armored vehicles and cargo aircraft upgrades worth nearly 1.4 billion dollars to four Mideast states.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this year promoted a much larger package of arms sales to the region earlier this year as a means to counter Iran.

The biggest of the possible arms sales announced Thursday was to Saudi Arabia, which the Pentagon said wants to buy 61 light armored vehicles, and 50 Humvees along with assorted guns, machine guns and night vision goggles.

The Defense Security and Assistance Agency said the sale would be worth 631 million dollars.

"The proposed sale of light armored vehicles will provide a highly mobile, light combat vehicle capability enabling Saudi Arabia to rapidly identify, engage and defeat perimeter security threats and rapidly employ counter and anti-terrorism measures," the DSCA said in a statement.

The light armored vehicles, which are built by General Dynamic Land Systems, are the primary combat vehicle of the Saudi Arabia National Guard.

The United Arab Emirates requested 900 Hellfire II Longbow air to ground missiles, and 300 blast fragmentation warheads, which the DSCA valued at up to 428 million dollars.

"The UAE needs these missiles in order to defend its maritime and land borders," the DSCA said.

It said the sale would reduce dependence on US forces.

Egypt is requesting 164 Stinger Block I missiles, and 25 Avenger launchers. The missiles would be configured for launches from vehicles.

The DSCA valued that possible sale at 83 million dollars.

"Egypt will use the Stinger missile to upgrade its air defense capability and will have no difficulty absorbing them into its armed forces," it said said.

Kuwait is seeking upgrades of three L-100-30 aircraft, which are commercial versions of the military C-130, DSCA said.

The upgrades were worth up to 250 million dollars, the agency said.

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