30 Dec 2011

Saudi arms sale confirmed

2:34 pm on 30 December 2011

The United States has confirmed the sale of nearly $US30 billion of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom will buy 84 Boeing F-15 jets and upgrade 70 existing F-15s.

The BBC reports the agreement is part of a $US60 billion deal covering 10 to 15 years, which was approved by the US Congress in 2010.

As well as the F-15s, the larger package includes Apache attack helicopters, Black Hawk helicopters and a range of missiles, bombs and delivery systems.

In a statement on Thursday, the White House said the Saudi arms sale was a "key component to regional stability".

It comes at a time when Washington is working to counter the influence of the Saudis' bitter regional rival, Iran.

The sale was formally announced from Hawaii, where President Barack Obama is on holiday.

A White House spokesperson says it will support more than 50,000 American jobs at a time of high unemployment.