U.S. Security Cooperation With Saudi Arabia

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
March 1, 2016

Saudi Arabia plays a crucial role in maintaining security in the Middle East, due to its economic, political, and cultural importance and its strategic location. Given the complex and dynamic security challenges facing the region, including countering violent extremism from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as well as other extremist groups, the United States will continue to work with Saudi Arabia to support counterterrorism efforts and a shared interest in regional stability. In addition, building on the May 14, 2015 Camp David Summit, we are working with the Gulf Cooperation Council to increase cooperation on maritime security, military preparedness, arms transfers, cybersecurity, and counterterrorism. Toward that end, the United States will continue to collaborate with Saudi Arabia to improve training for special operations and counterterrorism forces, integrate air and missile defense systems, strengthen cyber defenses, and bolster maritime security.

  • Through foreign military sales, the United States has supported three key security assistance organizations in the Kingdom. The U.S. Military Training Mission provides training and advisory services and administers the U.S. military cooperation program with the Saudi Ministry of Defense. The Office of the Program Management-Saudi Arabian National Guard assists in the modernization of the Ministry of the National Guard. The Office of Program Management-Ministry of Interior supports critical infrastructure protection and public security. Since the 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also played a vital role in military and civilian construction in Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest FMS customer, with nearly $100 billion in active FMS cases. In November 2015, the United States approved a possible FMS case to Saudi Arabia for air-to-ground munitions and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.29 billion. In October 2015, the United States approved a possible FMS to Saudi Arabia for Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $11.25 billion. In December 2011, the United States finalized our largest international defense sale in history — worth approximately $29.4 billion — to Saudi Arabia. This sale included 84 advanced F-15SA fighter aircraft and updates to the Kingdom’s existing 70 F-15S aircraft. Other large programs include 36 AH-64D Block III Apache helicopters, as well as ammunition for the Royal Saudi Land Forces; 24 AH-64D Block III Apache helicopters and 72 UH-60M Blackhawk helicopters for the Ministry of the National Guard; and numerous PATRIOT air defense systems and upgrades. These sales promote our commitment to stability in the region and to Saudi Arabia’s defense development.
  • Most recently, the U.S. Government has made plans to sell Saudi Arabia 10 MH-60R multi-mission helicopters, 600 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, and more than $500 million in air-dropped munitions and ammunition.
  • As a result of U.S. security assistance, the Kingdom has foiled numerous terrorist attempts against Saudi and foreign targets, and contributed to coalition operations against ISIL in Syria. The United States remains committed to providing the Saudi armed forces with the equipment, training, and follow-on support necessary to protect Saudi Arabia, and the region, from the destabilizing effects of terrorism and other threats.