On May 13th, the US Department of Defense approved upwards of $2.5 billion worth of its old missiles as deliveries to Saudi Arabia.
- $1.97 billion to attempt and redesign the obsolescence of the Stand-off Land Attack Missile – Expanded Response (SLAM ER), as well as the delivery of 650 SLAM ER missiles, and this will be carried out by Boeing. Work must be completed by December 2028.
- $656 million as a modification to a previously awarded contract. This modification procures and delivers 467 Harpoon full rate production Lot 91 Block II missiles and support equipment for various Foreign Military Sales customers. Out of these 467, Saudi Arabia is to receive 402. The remaining missiles go to Qatar, which gets 53, 8 to Thailand and 4 to Brazil. Work must be completed by December 2026.
Thus, contracts were issued for the supply of Saudi Arabia SLAM-ER aviation tactical cruise missiles and Harpoon Block II anti-ship missiles designed to equip Boeing F-15SA fighters received by Saudi Arabia in accordance with plans announced back in 2013.
Back in October 2013, the US Department of Defense Agency for Military Cooperation (DSCA) sent a notice to the US Congress of its intention to supply Saudi Arabia through FMS large batches of modern aviation weapons to equip F-15SA fighters for a total of $6.8 billion.
The list of weapons planned for delivery included 650 AGM-84H SLAM-ER cruise missiles (as well as 40 CATM-84H CATM missiles, 20 ATM-84H SLAM-ER telemetry missiles and four prototype training missiles ), 60 hanging containers s targeting AN/AWW-13 for use missiles AGM-84H SLAM-ER, and 400 anti-aircraft missiles AGM-84L Harpoon Block II (as well as the 40 training missile Harpoon CATM 20 and ATM-84L Harpoon Exercise Missiles missile telemetry).
It was also planned to deliver 300 AGM-84H SLAM-ER to the UAE.
And it would appear that these contracts were concluded just now, at least the Saudi Arabia ones (the UAE one has no progress on it).
It should be noted that Boeing stopped mass production of SLAM-ER missiles at its St. Louis facility in 2009. In April 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense issued a $64.1 million contract to Boeing to resume mass production of SLAM-ER for shipments to Saudi Arabia.
In April and September 2019, Boeing received new contracts from the U.S. Navy in the amount of $30.1 and $11.4 million, respectively, for the preparation of the resumption of production of SLAM-ER missiles for deliveries to Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh is basically buying missiles that were discontinued 11 years ago.
In October 2019, Boeing began the construction of a new enterprise for the production of SLAM-ER and Harpoon Block II missiles, the commissioning of which was expected in 2021.
The AGM-84H/K SLAM ER cruise missile was developed based on the Harpoon anti-ship missile for the U.S. Navy, which was supplied from 2000 to 2008.
Also, SLAM-ER missiles were delivered to South Korea and Turkey.
The range of the SLAM ER is 270 kilometers. Currently, from the point of view of the American armed forces, the SLAM ER missile is already largely obsolete, and its sale to Saudi Arabia is caused by the US unwillingness to supply more modern American missiles of the same purpose with the AGM-158 JASSM series to its ally.
It should be noted that Saudi Arabia appears so inept at war that it has long been losing the intervention its leading against the Houthis in Yemen, obsolete missile won’t help it, it was likely that even state-of-the-art missiles wouldn’t help it.
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