Saudis Express Interest in F-15 Buy
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 10, 2000 Saudi Arabia expressed an interest in buying 24 F-15S "Eagle" aircraft from Boeing's McDonnell-Douglas Division, a defense official said.
Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Saudi Minister of Defense and Aviation Prince Sultan discussed the issue during meetings in Jeddah April 9. "This is a Saudi idea," the official said.
The defense official said everything is preliminary and all the details must still be worked out. For instance, he said, it is uncertain there will be a transaction, how large it would be and how the Saudis would finance it.
The aircraft would replace 80 Saudi F-5 fighters. "They could replace a large number of aging aircraft with a smaller number of modern planes," the official said. The Saudis already have 141 F-15s in their armory. Most are "C" and "D" air superiority models, and 50 are multirole "S" models specially made for the Saudis.
The F-15S is a two-seat variant of the top-of-the-line U.S. air superiority-ground attack aircraft. The F-15 made its debut in the 1970s and has seen combat in operations Desert Storm, Desert Fox and Allied Force. In addition, F-15s patrol the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq.