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US OKs $582M Spy Plane Upgrade for Saudi, $85M Radar for UAE

The US State Department has approved a total of $667 million in foreign military sales to two Middle Eastern nations.

The first one involves upgrading Saudi Arabia’s RE-3A tactical airborne surveillance aircraft for an estimated $582 million.

The country has requested hardware and software modifications to bolster the mission readiness of the spy plane, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said.

Additionally, Riyadh wants seven embedded global positioning system security devices, five L3Harris BlackRock communications intelligence sensor suites, and a KIV-77 MODE 4/5 identification friend-or-foe system.

Once delivered, the items are expected to improve Saudi Arabia’s ability to patrol its territories and counter current and future regional threats.

They would also enhance interoperability with similar systems operated by the US military and other Gulf partners.

Radar for UAE

In a separate announcement, the US State Department said it has cleared the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to buy AN/TPQ-50 radar and related equipment worth $85 million.

The Middle Eastern nation specifically wants the man-portable variant, intending to buy 18 units.

Also included in its submitted request are 107-millimeter high-explosive rockets for testing and an undisclosed number of computer digital military laptop radar control display units.

The DSCA said the radar system will help the UAE armed forces protect military installations and other high-value targets against artillery and drone threats.

The proposed sale will also enhance the US-UAE relationship, both politically and militarily.

“The UAE will use the TPQ-50 radars to recognize incoming threats from hostile nations or agents of adversary nations,” the announcement stated. “The UAE will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and services into its armed forces.”

The state department has not disclosed the delivery timeline for the radars.

AN/TPQ-50 radar
An AN/TPQ-50 radar mounted on a vehicle. Photo: US Army

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