The $110B Saudi Deal is Old News

 In Perspectives

In mid-May 2017, President Donald Trump announced a sweeping arms deal with Saudi Arabia, reinvigorating a military export relationship that had experienced some public hiccups in the final months of the Obama administration. The price tag, proclaimed the headlines: $110 billion!

In reality, the agreement contains about $68 billion worth of deals, including aspirational programs. Mostly, it appears to include a multitude of old, unsigned, or prospective deals that fall short of the announced figure – with the bulk of the revenue for US contractors set to come from deals already requested under President Obama administration.

Most deals are either old, or just prospective…

See for yourself below, using the filters at the top to sort Trump’s headline-making deals by military agency and status, and compare them to the announced and proposed figures in the top right gauge chart.

Status Key

  • Confirmed:
    • Congress has approved a foreign military sale (FMS), or approval is imminent
  • Congressional Notification:
  • Stated Request:
    • Saudi Arabian officials have communicated a requirement verbally or through a Letter of Request (LoR) to US officials
  • Aspirational:
    • Prospective requirements that US officials believe KSA may eventually procure

Of all possible investment deals mentioned with Trump’s announcement, $54B worth (out of $68B) have already been officially requested (all during the Obama administration), and will take over a decade to fully come to fruition.

The remaining $14B worth of deals have no official signatures or notifications, composed of platforms, upgrades, and systems that the Saudis might want to buy eventually, that is, if oil prices recover.

And although the leftover $42B out of the announced $110B will include significant training and support deals, those remain even less defined than the investment programs.

(sort by clicking column headers)


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