WASHINGTON (May. 18)
Secretary of State George Shultz confirmed Sunday night that the Reagan Administration plans to sell some 60 F-15 fighter planes to Saudi Arabia. The sale is “structured in a way that we believe protects the Israeli interests,” he said in response to a question after his address to the 28th annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
He stressed that the planes would not increase the number of F-15s the Saudis now have, but would replace planes that are no longer usable. About five planes would be sent immediately and the others would be delivered to keep the Saudi “inventory” of 62, sold in the Carter Administration, constant.
The sale, which reportedly also include hundreds of Maverick air-to-ground missiles, would have to be approved by Congress. Shultz said the sale is in U.S. interest because of “the tension” in the Persian Gulf and the “stability” provided by such advanced arms for the Saudis.