White House approves $8billion deal for Gulf fighter jets
The White House has finally approved the long drawn out requests by Kuwait and Qatar to buy up to 76 Boeing F-15 and F/A- 18E/F Super Hornet aircraft worth approximately $7 billion as well as clearing the sale of 17 Lockheed Martin-built F-16 aircraft to Bahrain.
The Bahrain contract which includes updates to 20 F-16s currently in Bahrain’s defence force is worth a further $1 billion,
According to Reuters the deals include Qatar’s procurement of 36 F-15 fighter jets for approximately $4 billion and the sale of 28 F/A- 18E/F Super Hornets with options for 12 additional aircraft to Kuwait for approximately $3 billion.
The sales have been pending for more than two years amid concerns raised by Israel that arms sold to Gulf Arab states could be used against it, and criticism of Qatar for alleged ties to armed Islamist groups.
The deals will be formally announced once a 40-day informal notification process ends and then lawmakers will have 30 days to block the sales, although analysts say that such action is rare.
According to Reuters, sources said officials at both the State Department and Pentagon had largely agreed to the deals some time ago, but had been awaiting final approval from the White House.