US State Department approves potential sale of 3,000 smart bombs to Saudi Arabia

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The US State Department has approved the potential sale of 3,000 precision guided munitions to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth up to $290 million, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The package would include 3,000 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb I (SDB I) munitions, containers, support equipment, spares and technical support, it added.

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The GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb I was developed by Boeing Co and went into production a decade ago. The compact size and precision guidance allow warplanes to accurately strike more targets per sortie while minimizing collateral damage, Boeing says.

"The proposed sale will improve Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by increasing its stocks of long-range, precision air-to-ground munitions. The size and accuracy of the SDB I allows for an effective munition with less collateral damage. The potential sale will further strengthen the interoperability between the United States and Saudi Arabia," said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which manages the Foreign Military Sales program.

The DSCA delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Tuesday. Despite the approval, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.

The Pentagon also announced on Tuesday that the State Department approved the potential sale of Apache helicopters and spare parts for the Patriort missile system to Kuwait in two deals worth approximately $4.2 billion.

- With Reuters

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