UPDATE 1-U.S. announces $60 bln arms sale for Saudi Arabia
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WASHINGTON Oct 20 (Reuters) - The United States plans to sell up to $60 billion worth of military aircraft to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday in a move designed to shore up a region overshadowed by Iran.
Andrew Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told a news conference the U.S. administration did not anticipate any objections to the sale from Israel, traditionally wary of arms sales to nearby Arab countries.
The sale, which had been expected, includes 84 new Boeing (BA.N) F-15 aircraft and 70 upgrades of existing Saudi F-15s. It also includes 70 of Boeing's Apache attack helicopters and 36 of its AH-6M Little Birds.
It will also include 72 Black Hawk helicopters built by Sikorsky Aircraft, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (UTX.N).
Shapiro said the total value of the package would not exceed $60 billion, although he emphasized that Saudi Arabia may not choose to exercise all of its purchase options during the program, which will last from 15 to 20 years.
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