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Saudi Arabian F-15 Peace Sun

For more than three decades the F-15 Peace Sun has been a cornerstone of the relationship between the US Air Force (USAF) and the RSAF [the applicaation of the Peace Sun nomenclature is a bit of a jumble]. In 1977, the Carter Administration committed to an F-15 sale for Saudi Arabia. After a difficult time on the proposed Iranian AWACS sale the year before, policy makers anticipated an equally rough time for this sale. US Defense Secretary Harold Secretary Brown sought to alleviate fears of some Senators that the F-15 that would be sold to Saudi Arabia would be used against Israel. He explained the capabilities of this aircraft and also specified the assurances received from the government of Saudi Arabia.

As a result, Carter, faced with the unappealing prospect of a legislative veto, chose not to face down the Congress over just the Saudi sale. He attempted to package the Saudi F-15s together with other aircraft purchases by Egypt and Israel in a take it or leave it effort to force through all the sales. The threat of a Congressional veto in response to both these tactics, and the unpopularity of the Saudis vis-a-vis the Israelis in general, forced the administration to back down. Although the Saudis eventually received F-15s, strict limitations were placed on the offensive capabilities of the aircraft.

The Saudi request for F15s in 1978 had a high political content centering on the growing role of Saudi Arabia in the ArabIsraeli problem, particularly since 1973. The request itself, however, represented a step in the development of a modern Saudi air defense system largely conducted under US tutelage and begun in 1962 with no reference whatever to Israel.

During the 1970s arms trade became a domestic political and foreign policy issue. Congress imposed legislative controls, most notably through theInternational Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976; the Carter Administration sought to "reform" U.S. arms sales through a set of specific guidelines, and it undertook discussions with the Soviet Union regarding international restraints.

The Carter Administration's handling of arms sales was easy to criticize. Certainly the reality did not match the overblown and moralistic rhetoric, and arms sales were never relegated to the status of being an "exceptional" instrument of foreign policy as promised in the Administation's early days. The policy guidelines - e.g., that the United States would not bethe first supplier to introduce into a region newly developed, advanced weapons systems that would create a new or significantly higher combat capability; that it would not permit development or modification of advanced weapons systems solely for export; that it would not permit co-production agreements with other countries, etc. - were frequently not observed.

The Reagan Administation in its first nine months sought to accentuate the difference in its approach toward arms sales. Addressing the Aerospace Industries Association, Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology, James L. Buckley observed that the Carter Administration had adopted policies on the sale of arms that "substituted theology for a healthy sense of self-preservation."

A cornucopia of arms sales marked the first months of the Reagan Administration. In the largest arms deal in history, the United States sold to Saudi Arabia not only the five AWACS aircraft but also 1,177 advanced Sidewinder airtoair missiles, six KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft, and conformal fuel tanks to enhance the range of the 60 F-15 fighters sold in 1978 - for a total value of $8.5 billion. lsrael was promised additional F-15 fighters and was told that past restrictions on the export of its Kfir fighter, containing an American engine, would be dropped.

The heated debate over the sale of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes and F-15 fighter components to Saudi Arabia was only one of a number of controversies involving U.S. arms sales. A particular sale may be destabilizing or it may restore a balance. Itmay promote an arms race in a region, or it may help deter a potential conflict. Moreover, what is true in the short run may not be valid for the longer term.

In 1983 when the Reagan administration, under pressure from the Israeli lobby and a legislative veto, refused to sell an additional 48 F-15s to Saudi Arabia. AIPAC proved influential enough to persuade Congress to block the sale of additional F-15s to Saudi Arabia. Instead of procuring the primarily defensive F-15, the Saudis bought the offensive strike version of the Tornado from the UK. One could argue that the net effect of the U.S. refusal to sell the F-15s was a lessening of Israeli security if for no other reason than other countries were willing and able to fill Saudi needs with offensively oriented aircraft.

Saudi Arabia ranked first among all Third World recipients in the value of arms transfer agreements in 1993, concluding $9.6 billion in such agreements. The principal Saudi purchase contributing to this 1993 total was a $9 billion agreement with the United States for 72 F-15 fighter aircraft. At that time, industry lobbyists such as a coalition of arms manufactures and labor unions claimed that 40,000 jobs would be lost if a pending sale of 72 F-15s to Saudi Arabia were not approved. What was not advertised was that Saudi Arabia required a 30 percent offset on all buys, which for this purchase channeled $2.7 billion to Saudi workers and the Saudi economy. Although there was considerable political pressure to curb the use of offsets, Congress had been reluctant to take issue with offsets and with arms sales generally. Exports through defense sales provide jobs and generally support the economy.

Saudi Arabia took delivery of its 60 Peace Sun F-15C/Ds from January 1982 to May 1983; two more were purchased as attrition aircraft.

An October 1987 order of 12 more (nine C, three D) under Peace Sun VI, with delivery ending February 1992. 24 more were transferred from US Air Force units in Europe in September 1990 in a $682-million deal. Peace Sun VI included F-15Cs 90-0263 through -0271, and F-15Ds 90-0272 through -0274.

Peace Sun VI

Undaunted by its previous failure to establish an assured supply of combat aircraft from the United States, Saudi Arabia announced in late 1991 that it had placed an order with McDonnell Douglas for an additional seventy-two F-15s. It initially appeared doubtful whether the sale would be approved by the United States administration and the Congress. The Bush Administration developed a plan to sell F-15 Fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia, valued at $9 billion. The sale consisted overall of 72 F-15XP aircraft. Twentyfour F-15s were configured to perform defensive air-toair combat missions. These aircraft were comparable to the F-15C and D models already sold to Saudi Arabia. The other 48 F-15s in this package were configured to perform defensive air-toground interdiction missions against an aggressor, for example, Iraqi tanks or Iranian patrol boats menacing the Gulf sea lanes.

On 15 September 1992, the Bush administration notified Congress of plans to sell 72 F-15XP aircraft to Saudi Arabia. The F-15XP model of the F-15 is a highly capable air superiority fighter comparable to the and Ds that have been in the Saudi inventory since the early 1980s. Equipped with navigation and targeting pods, it can also be a dual role aircraft with an airto-ground capability comparable to that already possessed by the Saudi Air Force. It was not, however, the F-15E, Strike Eagle, flown only by the US Air Force. The most advanced air combat technologies had not been exported to anyone, and the US preserved that in this sale. While the F-15XP utilized the F-15E airframe, the operational capabilities of the plane are controlled through the type of hardware placed on the aircraft and software modifications. In making the argument to Congress in support of this sale, the Administration noted that the US did not provided the most advanced munitions carried by the US Air Force F-15Es, a restriction that was relaxed in subsequent transactions.

When the Saudi Arabian government asked to buy additional air defense and interdiction F-15 aircraft in 1991, the question facing the Administration was not whether the Saudis would acquire such weapons systems, but from which country they would buy it, and which country would have a dominant position in the Saudi military planning for several decades. The US does not have a monopoly on high technology. European and other aircraft manufacturers were eager to take our place as the principal supplier to the Saudi military, a position that had already been seriously eroded in the last decade. The Saudis made it quite clear that, while they prefer American technology, they would, if necessary, meet their legitimate defense needs elsewhere. That, of course, is precisely what they did after 1985 when they began buying the Tornado air defense ghter from Britain and also began to acquire their existing ground attack capability.

Peace Sun VIII ??

On 20 October 2010 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Saudi Arabia of:

84 F-15SA Aircraft
170 APG-63(v)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar
(AESA) radar sets
193 F-110-GE-129 Improved Performance Engines
100 M61 Vulcan Cannons
100 Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution
System/Low Volume Terminal (MIDS/LVT) and spares
193 LANTIRN Navigation Pods (3rd Generation-Tiger Eye)
338 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS)
462 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles (NVGS)
300 AIM-9X SIDEWINDER Missiles
25 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM-9X)
25 Special Air Training Missiles (NATM-9X)
500 AIM-120C/7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air
Missiles (AMRAAM)
25 AIM-120 CATMs
1,000 Dual Mode Laser/Global Positioning System (GPS)
Guided Munitions (500 lb)
1,000 Dual Mode Laser/GPS Guided Munitions (2000 lb)
1,100 GBU-24 PAVEWAY III Laser Guided Bombs (2000 lb)
1,000 GBU-31B V3 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM)
(2000 lb)
1,300 CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapons (SFW)/Wind
Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD)
50 CBU-105 Inert
1,000 MK-82 500lb General Purpose Bombs
6,000 MK-82 500lb Inert Training Bombs
2,000 MK-84 2000lb General Purpose Bombs
2,000 MK-84 2000lb Inert Training Bombs
200,000 20mm Cartridges
400,000 20mm Target Practice Cartridges
400 AGM-84 Block II HARPOON Missiles
600 AGM-88B HARM Missiles
169 Digital Electronic Warfare Systems (DEWS)
158 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Targeting Systems
169 AN/AAS-42 Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Systems
10 DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods
462 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System Helmets
40 Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receivers
(ROVER)
80 Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Pods

Also included are the upgrade of the existing Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleet of seventy (70) F-15S multi-role fighters to the F-15SA configuration, the provision for CONUS-based fighter training operations for a twelve (12) F-15SA contingent, construction, refurbishments, and infrastructure improvements of several support facilities for the F-15SA in-Kingdom and/or CONUS operations, RR-188 Chaff, MJU-7/10 Flares, training munitions, Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices, communication security, site surveys, trainers, simulators, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated cost is $29.432 billion.

The procurement of the F-15SA, the conversion of the F-15S fleet to a common configuration, and the CONUS training contingent will provide interoperability, sustained professional contacts, and common ground for training and support well into the 21st century. The F-15SA will help deter potential aggressors by increasing Saudis tactical air force capability to defend KSA against regional threats. The CONUS-based contingent would improve interoperability between the USAF and the RSAF. This approach will meet Saudis self-defense requirements and continue to foster the long-term military-to-military relationship between the United States and the KSA.

Peace Sun IX

F-15 production was extended into 1999 by the orders for 72 F-15S aircraft for Saudi Arabia. Peace Sun IX is an F-15 Foreign Military Sales production program, with development, to deliver 72 F-15S aircraft including support equipment, spares, and training to the Royal Saudi government. Saudi Arabia has purchased a total of 62 F-15C and D aircraft and later procured the F-15S, which is a two-seater aircraft based on the F-15E airframe, with downgraded avionics, downgraded LANTIRN pods, and a simplified Hughes APG-70 radar without computerised radar mapping. Four F-15S Eagles were delivered in 1995. On 10 November 1999 the last of 72 F-15S aircraft was delivered to Saudi Arabia. In November 1995 Saudi Arabia purchased 556 GBU-15 Guided Bomb Units (including six training units), 48 data link pods, personnel training and training equipment and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $371 million. Saudi Arabia would use the GBU-15s to enhance the stand off attack capability of the F-15S aircraft.

On January 14, 2008 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Saudi Arabia of Joint Direct Attack Munitions as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $123 million. The Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of 900 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits (which include 550 GBU-38 for MK-82, 250 GBU-31 for MK-84, 100 GBU-31 for BLU-109). Also included are bomb components, mission planning, aircraft integration, publications and technical manuals, spare and repair parts, support equipment, contractor engineering and technical support, and other related elements of program support.

The proposed sale would greatly improve the accuracy of unguided, general-purpose bombs in any weather condition enabling the Royal Saudi Air Forces (RSAF) F-15S aircraft to participate to a greater degree in coalition operations. The proposed sale of JDAMs for use on RSAF F-15S aircraft would enhance training opportunities; increase RSAF F-15 operational capability, sustainability, and interoperability with USAF, Gulf Cooperation Council, and other coalition air forces.

On October 20, 2010 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress today of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Saudi Arabia of 84 F-15SA Aircraft and 170 APG-63(v)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESA) radar sets. Also included are the upgrade of the existing Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleet of seventy (70) F-15S multi-role fighters to the F-15SA configuration, the provision for CONUS-based fighter training operations for a twelve (12) F-15SA contingent, construction, refurbishments, and infrastructure improvements of several support facilities for the F-15SA in-Kingdom and/or CONUS operations.

The possible Foreign Military Sale with an estimated cost is $29.432 billion to the Government of Saudi Arabia of: 84 F-15SA Aircraft; 170 APG-63(v)3 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESA) radar sets; 193 F-110-GE-129 Improved Performance Engines; 100 M61 Vulcan Cannons ; 100 Link-16 Multifunctional Information Distribution System/Low Volume Terminal (MIDS/LVT) and spares; 193 LANTIRN Navigation Pods (3rd Generation-Tiger Eye); 338 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS); and 462 AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Goggles (NVGS).

Also included are 300 AIM-9X SIDEWINDER Missiles; 25 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM-9X); 25 Special Air Training Missiles (NATM-9X); 500 AIM-120C/7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM); 25 AIM-120 CATMs; 1,000 Dual Mode Laser/Global Positioning System (GPS) Guided Munitions (500 lb); 1,000 Dual Mode Laser/GPS Guided Munitions (2000 lb) 1,100; GBU-24 PAVEWAY III Laser Guided Bombs (2000 lb) 1,000; GBU-31B V3 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) (2000 lb); 1,300 CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapons (SFW)/Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD); 50 CBU-105 Inert; 1,000 MK-82 500lb General Purpose Bombs; 6,000 MK-82 500lb Inert Training Bombs; 2,000 MK-84 2000lb General Purpose Bombs; 2,000 MK-84 2000lb Inert Training Bombs; 200,000 20mm Cartridges; 400,000 20mm Target Practice Cartridges; 400 AGM-84 Block II HARPOON Missiles; 600 AGM-88B HARM Missiles; 169 Digital Electronic Warfare Systems (DEWS); 158 AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Targeting Systems; 169 AN/AAS-42 Infrared Search and Track (IRST) Systems; 10 DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods; 462 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System Helmets; 40 Remotely Operated Video Enhanced Receivers (ROVER); and 80 Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation Pods.

Also included are the upgrade of the existing Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) fleet of seventy (70) F-15S multi-role fighters to the F-15SA configuration, the provision for CONUS-based fighter training operations for a twelve (12) F-15SA contingent, construction, refurbishments, and infrastructure improvements of several support facilities for the F-15SA in-Kingdom and/or CONUS operations, RR-188 Chaff, MJU-7/10 Flares, training munitions, Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices, communication security, site surveys, trainers, simulators, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistical support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.

For the previous twenty years the F-15 has been a cornerstone of the relationship between the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and the RSAF. The procurement of the F-15SA, the conversion of the F-15S fleet to a common configuration, and the CONUS training contingent would provide interoperability, sustained professional contacts, and common ground for training and support well into the 21st century. The F-15SA would help deter potential aggressors by increasing Saudis tactical air force capability to defend KSA against regional threats. The CONUS-based contingent would improve interoperability between the USAF and the RSAF. This approach would meet Saudis self-defense requirements and continue to foster the long-term military-to-military relationship between the United States and the KSA. Saudi Arabia, which currently has the F-15 in its inventory, would have no difficulty absorbing the F-15SA aircraft into its armed forces.

On June 13, 2011 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Friday of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Saudi Arabia of 404 CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapons and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $355 million. Saudi Arabia intends to use Sensor Fused Weapons to modernize its armed forces and enhance its capability todefeat a wide range of defensive threats, to include: strongpoints, bunkers, and dug-in facilities; armored and semi-armored vehicles; personnel; and certain maritime threats. Additionally, the precision nature and extremely low dud rate of these munitions would reduce fratricide incidents and increase effectiveness. The Royal Saudi Air Force would be able to develop and enhance its standardization and operational capability and its interoperability with the USAF, Gulf Cooperation Council member states, and other coalition air forces.

After arming, the CBU-105D/B Sensor Fuzed Weapon would not result in more than one percent unexplodedordnance across the range of intended operational environments. The agreement applicable to the transfer orthe CBU-105D/B and the CBU-105 integration test assets would contain an agreement of the Government of Saudi Arabia that the cluster munitions and cluster munitions technology would be used only against clearly defined military targets and would not be used where civilians are known to be present or in areas normally inhabited by civilians.

On 29 December 2011 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase from the US government 84 new Boeing F-15 fighter aircraft and to upgrade 70 of its existing F-15s. By one account, as of 2011 Saudi Arabia had 66 F-15C single seat and 18 F-15D two-seat fighrer aircraft and 70 F-15S air-to-ground aircraft [IISS has slightly different numbers]. With this latest purchase, Saudi Arabia would operate a fleet of 238 F-15s of all types. For many years the customers authorized to have the F-15 aircraft were limited to Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Israel. More recently, South Korea and Singapore were added to this exclusive list.

On April 30, 2013 Boeing rolled out the F-15SA, ushering in a new era in fighter aircraft capability and affordability for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The F-15SA, the newest variant of the combat-proven F-15, provides improved performance and increased survivability at a lower life-cycle cost. The aircraft has two additional wing stations for increased payload and capability. The F-15SA's maiden voyage took place on 20 February 2013 at the Boeing facilities in St. Louis, Mo. The F-15SA brings improved performance, enhanced situational awareness and increased survivability at a lower total life-cycle cost. Avionics advancements include a Digital Electronic Warfare Suite, Fly-By-Wire flight control system, an Infrared Search and Track system and Active Electronically Scanned Array radar. Forward and aft cockpits feature advanced displays and Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems. F-15SA new aircraft deliveries to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were scheduled to begin in 2015 and conclude by 2019.

On 09 November 2015 Lockheed Martin received a $262.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for sustainment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabias F-15 sensor suite. The sensor suite includes Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP), LANTIRN Extended Range (ER) navigation pods and Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems. Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will collaborate with Advanced Electronics Company (AEC) to perform Sniper ATP and LANTIRN ER sustainment services as well as LANTIRN ER pod upgrades at the Sniper Expanded Repair Capability facility in Saudi Arabia. Lockheed Martin will support IRST sustainment at its IRST depot in Orlando, Florida.

Sniper ATP is a precision targeting system chosen by the U.S. Air Force and 21 international air forces. IRST is a passive sensor system used by international F-15 customers. LANTIRN ER pods operate day or night, providing low-level navigation with terrain-following radar on international F-15 and F-16 aircraft.

The first of 152 Boeing F-15SA (Saudi Advanced) Eagle fighters arrived in the Kingdom on 13 December 2016. The initial four aircraft, comprising two remanufactured F-15S (93-0857 and 93-0899) and two newbuild F-15SA platforms (12-1006 and 12-1010), arrived at King Khalid Air Base (KKAB) in Saudi Arabia. Deliveries of the 84 newbuild and 68 remanufactured F-15SAs were originally schedule from 2015 through to 2019, but development problems pushed this schedule back by about 12 months, from 2016 through to 2020.

The RSAF F-15SAs are to be operated by 55 Formal Training Unit (FTU) and 6 Squadron (currently an F-15S unit) at King Khalid Air Base (KKAB) in south-west Saudi Arabia; by 29 Squadron (not currently stood-up) at King Faisal Air Base (KFAB) in the north-west; and by 92 Squadron (currently an F-15S unit) and the Fighter Weapons School at King Abdulaziz Air Base (KAAB) on the Gulf coast near Bahrain.



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