Biden administration approves $583M arms sale to Saudi Arabia and $85M sale to the U.A.E.
By Arsenio Toledo // Dec 12, 2023

The administration of President Joe Biden has approved a $583 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia and a $85 million sale to the United Arab Emirates.

The approval of the arms deals comes as tensions continue to rise in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf over the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and the participation of Yemen's Houthi rebels movement. (Related: U.S. warship in the Red Sea shoots down attack drones fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels.)

According to the State Department, the $583 million sale to Saudi Arabia primarily involves the Saudis purchasing upgrades for their small fleet of RE-3A Sentry Tactical Airborne Surveillance System aircraft.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency noted that the Department of Defense had received a request from the Saudis for hardware and software modifications to bolster the spy plane's mission readiness.

The Saudis acquired their fleet of several RE-3As from Boeing in the 1980s. As part of its modernization effort, Riyadh is purchasing seven global positioning system security devices, five L3Harris BlackRock communications intelligence sensor suites and one KIV-77 MODE 4/5 friend-or-foe identification system.

"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving Saudi Arabia's surveillance capacity," said the Pentagon in a statement.

Once delivered, the modernization equipment is expected to improve Saudi Arabia's ability to patrol its territories and counter current and future regional threats. It would also enhance the RE-3A's inoperability with similar systems operated by the U.S. and other Gulf states.

U.A.E. purchases anti-munition radar systems

Along with the sale to Saudi Arabia, the Biden administration has also approved an $85 million sale of 18 AN/TPQ-50 Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar systems and related equipment.

The U.S. said the sale will help the U.A.E. protect critical infrastructure and high-value civilian assets as well as the military installations of the Emiratis, especially from rocket and artillery fire but also from unmanned aerial vehicles.

"The U.A.E. is a vital U.S. partner for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," said the Pentagon in a statement, adding that the sale "will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of an important regional partner."

While the Biden administration has provided its approval of the sales, Congress still needs to give its final approval for the military systems to be transported to the Middle East.

Both sales come as tensions in the Middle East increase due to Israel's conflict in Gaza against armed Palestinian groups led by Hamas.

Riyadh and Abu Dhabi both are concerned that the ongoing conflict could lead to a regional escalation, with the Houthis ramping up attacks against Israel and possibly opening up violence once more against Saudi Arabia. Both countries are also concerned that Iran could intervene since both nations have spent recent months attempting to mend fences with their regional rival as they aim to focus on growing their economies.

Learn the latest news regarding arms sales all over the world at

Watch this clip from Fox News reporting on the Houthis' most recent attack, when it launched ballistic missiles against U.S. warships in the Red Sea.

This video is from the NewsClips channel on

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