Pentagon OKs big military deal to Saudis

The Pentagon on Friday approved an agreement that will let Saudi Arabia buy up to $276 million in spare parts for its M1A2 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and other equipment from U.S. stocks.

In a mandatory notification to Congress, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees major arms sales, said the deal would help improve the security of Saudi Arabia.

Congress has 30 days to block the deal, although such action is rare.

"The uninterrupted supply of spare parts will allow Saudi Arabia to keep its vehicle fleet at the highest state of readiness," said the agency, which oversees major arms sales.

On Thursday, DSCA notified Congress that it had approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of 24 UH-60L Black Hawk helicopters, radios, armored vehicles and other military equipment worth more than $6 billion.

DSCA said the spare parts deal would take place under a Cooperative Logistics Supply Support Agreement. Under the deal, Saudi Arabia pays for options worth up to $276 million, which it can then use to place orders for spare parts.

It approved $461 million under a similar logistics deal with Saudi Arabia in March 1991 during the first Gulf War.

It said the spare parts would be procured from the many contractors providing similar items to U.S. forces.

© Reuters 2006