US Defense Contractor to Build High-Tech Bombs in Saudi Arabia

DESPARDES News Monitor — The Trump administration has permitted the construction of high-tech bomb and missile parts in Saudi Arabia, giving Riyadh unprecedented access to a sensitive weapons technology, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The production arrangement is part of a larger $8.1 billion arms package for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan announced two weeks ago. 

The newspaper said in a dispatch that the White House allowed Raytheon, a US military defense contractor, to “team up” with Saudis to build and assemble components of Paveway smart bombs in the kingdom.

The deal opens the door for Saudi Arabia to host the production of electronic guidance and control systems for these precision-guided smart bombs.

Just before the Memorial Day weekend (last week of May), Trump’s administration announced it would circumvent Congress and sell $8.1bn in new weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

On 24 May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified Congress that the administration would move ahead with the $8.1bn deals without congressional approval. He cited a rarely used provision of the Arms Export Control Act which allows the president to bypass Congress if he determines there is an emergency that impacts national security. Pompeo stated there was a heightened threat of “Iranian aggression”.