U.S. Agrees to Sell Up to $60 Billion of Military Aircraft to Saudi Arabia

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Boeing (BA) and United Technologies (UTX) could win billions of dollars of orders from a U.S. deal to sell military aircraft to Saudi Arabia. The U.S. State Department plans to sell as much as $60 billion worth of planes and helicopters to the Arab country over the next two decades, in an attempt to help protect the Middle East against the threat of Iranian military expansion, Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said during a news conference Wednesday.

The sale will include more than 140 helicopters from Boeing and United Technologies's Sikorsky Aircraft division, and 84 new Boeing F-15 planes, Reuters reported, adding that Saudi Arabia may not use all of its $60 billion in purchase options.

The U.S. hopes the sale will help maintain stability amid the threat of Iran's nuclear-weapon program. Alexander Vershbow, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said the move could also improve military coordination with the U.S. and may lessen the need for U.S. forces in the region. Israel, which in the past has expressed concern over arming nearby Arab countries, hasn't objected to the sale, Vershbow added.

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