U.S. State Department Approves $1.4 Billion Military Sale to Saudi Arabia

The U.S. State Department approved the sale of $1.4 billion in military training and equipment to Saudi Arabia as part of a larger arms deal signed by President Donald Trump in May, the Pentagon announced Monday, The Atlantic reports.

Prior to his visit to Saudi Arabia last month, Trump sanctioned a deal that was conducted by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, which would provide the nation with around $110 billion in defense items such as tanks, fighter planes, combat ships, and precision-guided bombs over the next ten years.

Monday’s approval by the State Department involves two major sales: a training program for military forces like the Royal Saudi Air Force and a radar system to improve Saudi Arabia’s border security.

According to the Pentagon, the radar system, which has the capacity to locate and protect against incoming rockets, mortars, and artillery, is part of a $662 million package that includes ammunition, trucks, and technical support. The remaining $750 million will finance a training program that provides military education and flight instruction, as well as English-language skills, to Saudi forces. With these tools, the Pentagon said, Saudi Arabia’s military will learn to reduce civilian casualties.

Last month,The New York Times reported that Kushner was instrumental in brokering a deal over the radar system, known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD. During a meeting with high-level Saudi officials, Kushner reportedly called the CEO of Lockheed Martin, the system’s prime contractor, and asked her to lower the price.

The CEO later referred to the deal as “historic” and said her company was proud to be a part of it. A White House Official also called the deal “a significant expansion of the over seven-decade long security relationship between” the two countries, The Atlantic writes.

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