General Dynamics will be the principal contractor for the sale.
The Pentagon has disclosed that the U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of more than 20 armoured recovery vehicles, 130 Abrams battle tanks, and other equipment to Saudi Arabia. The deal is worth around $1.15 billion.
The potential sale could boost the oil rich Kingdom’s effort to support Yemeni forces who are loyal to the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who are trying to oust Iran backed Houthi forces from Sanaa, Yemen’s capital.
According to the U.S. Defence Security Cooperation Agency, General Dynamics will be the principal contractor for the sale.
“This sale will increase the Royal Saudi Land Force’s (RSLF) interoperability with U.S. forces and conveys U.S. commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security and armed forces modernization,” said the agency in a note to lawmakers which was posted on its website.
Lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale. Such an action is however very rare.
Earlier last year in March 2015, when civil war broke out in Yemen with the Houthi movement pushing out the Hadi administration, which went into exile in Saudi Arabia, its Gulf Arab allies, have intervened in the country’s security situation.
Yesterday, with the U.N brokered peace talks failing to gain significant ground, the Saudi-led military coalition conducted air strikes for the first time in 5 months, said Sanaa’s residents.
According to medics, 9 people were killed in a potato chip factory in the Nahda district of the capital, as a result of the airstrikes.
The death of civilians have resulted in the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International calling on the United Nations General Assembly earlier in June so as to suspend Saudi Arabia from the U.N. Human Rights Council, until such instances come to a halt.
“The Saudi-led coalition’s campaign in Yemen has been devastating for civilians (and) the U.S. should be suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, not approving more,” said Kristine Beckerle, a researcher with Human Rights Watch.
According to U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, who has largely been critical of such arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the high casualty rate among civilians was a matter of concern.
A statement released by the Senator said “I’d like to see them commit to rejoin that fight as part of major new military sales.” He felt Saudi Arabia, had “largely backed away from” the fight against Islamic State militants.