WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia is negotiating another major
order of F-15 fighter-jet from the United States.
"Growing security concerns over Gulf neighbor and perennial troublemaker
Iran are pushing the Saudis to upgrade their air fleet with a particular
emphasis on precision strike aircraft," the U.S. defense website DoD Buzz
Industry sources said Riyad has been discussing the procurement of up to
72 advanced F-15 fighters. They said the Saudi order could include the
purchase of Boeing's latest stealth design for the F-15, titled Silent
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DoD Buzz, citing industry and defense sources, said the Defense
Department would approve any Saudi request for the F-15. The Pentagon's
Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which processes requests for major
weapons procurement, has not confirmed the Saudi interest.
Boeing has reported interest by Israel and Saudi Arabia of the F-15
Silent Eagle, which remains in the design stage. Silent Eagle was meant to
comprise an F-15E platform modified to reduce its radar signature. The
platform would also contain internal conformal fuel tanks.
Saudi Arabia has been operating about 150 F-15s, procured in deals in
the 1970s and 1990s. In 2008, Riyad received approval for Joint Direct
Attack Munitions tail kits for the F-15 fleet.
The sources said Riyad has sought to modernize its F-15 fleet as well as
bolster defense relations with the United States. The Saudis have also been
preparing for the first deliveries of the Eurofighter Typhoon as part of an
$8.9 billion deal with BAE Systems.