Saudi AF Training Base to be Located At Mountain Home, Idaho

Worldview WeekendTrevor Loudon

Posted: 01/11/11

Saudi Air Force Training Base to be Sited in Idaho

On Oct. 20, Stratfor reported that the U.S. Goverment was making a $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia,

The U.S. government formally notified Congress on Oct. 20 of a $60 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The package, which includes both combat aircraft and military helicopters, is considerable and will provide the Saudis with even more of some of the most modern fighter jets in the entire region. Militarily, however, Riyadh's challenge is not a matter of hardware: Saudi Arabia already fields a broad spectrum of some of the highest-end and most modern military equipment in the region. Instead, its challenge is fielding that hardware. With deliveries years away, the new deal will do little to balance the resurgent Iranian regime in the near-term, and prolongs Saudi Arabia's heavy dependence on U.S. defense support.

The new package, which will reinforce the quality and quantity of Saudi military hardware over the course of the next two decades, will include:

84 new-build and more modern variants of the F-15S combat fighter aircraft. The upgrade of 70 existing Saudi F-15S to this new standard. 70 AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. 72 UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters. 36 AH-6i light attack-reconnaissance helicopters. 12 light training helicopters.

Associated armaments, including air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance (including 1,000 "bunker-buster" bombs designed to penetrate hardened and deeply buried facilities).

Now an Idaho news source, Mountain Home News reports that the United States will be facilitating a training base for the Royal Saudi Air Force in Mountain Home, Idaho.

The Idaho congressional delegation received notification Friday that Mountain Home Air Force Base has been chosen as the preferred site to host a training mission for the Royal Saudi Air Force. Placing a training base in the United States is part of a $60 billion arms package the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is purchasing from the U.S., which includes 84 new F-15SA fighter jets and upgrades to the Saudi's current inventory of F-15C fighters.

Col. Pete Lee, vice commander of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base described the announcement as "a great opportunity," for the base, the local community and the region. The Saudi government will apparently bear all costs for basing the squadron.The arms sale will doubtless be welcomed by the arms industry in the United States.

As however Saudi Arabia is a known sponsor of Wahabbist terrorism, is this arrangement really in the best long term interests of the U.S? Distributed by