London, Sept 14 (ANI): The Pentagon is reportedly all set to notify the US Congress over selling up to 60 billion dollars worth of sophisticated warplanes to Saudi Arabia, and could add another 30 billion dollars worth of naval arms in the biggest deal designed to counter the rise of Iran as a regional power.
According to the BBC, the deal would apparently represent the largest single US arms sale ever approved.Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan said Congressional notification was expected within "the next week or so" but declined to comment on details of the proposed package.
However, defence officials have indicated that the US would allow Saudi Arabia, the most militarily advanced of the Arab Gulf states and one of the richest countries in the world, to buy top-line US-made helicopters, including F-15 fighter jets, Apache, Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters.
Saudi Arabia would reportedly initially purchase about 30 billion dollars worth of aircraft, but could buy more later.
According to a defence official, the deal would give Saudi Arabia a "whole host of defensive capabilities to defend the kingdom". Israel, a firm ally of the US, has reportedly backed the US in the deal.
The State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said that Washington would do nothing that would upset the current balance (of power) in the region.
He further said that the administration is required to notify the Congress in advance of arms sales.
Lawmakers reportedly have 30 days from notification to object to the deal. Congressional officials warned that lawmakers could try to block the deal, but analysts say the prospect of job growth in the US defence industry could be another encouragement for lawmakers to approve it.
The UK sold major combat aircraft to the Saudis in 1980s. Saudi Arabia is one of the top buyers of weapons in the developing world, purchasing an estimated 36.7billion dollars in arms between 2001 and 2008. (ANI)