Apaches, Black Hawks to strengthen KSA defense

In this file photo, Blackhawk UH-60 helicopters.

In this file photo, Blackhawk UH-60 helicopters.

Saudi Arabia will receive Black Hawk and Apache military helicopters from the US earlier next year to bolster National Guard forces, said visiting National Guard Minister Prince Miteb bin Abdullah after talks with Pentagon officials.

“Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah seeks to modernize and develop the military systems of all armed forces, including the National Guard,” the minister told reporters after meeting US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

Specialized technical committees have been set up to study the requirements of Saudi armed forces including the National Guard, he said.

Prince Miteb said Saudi officers have been trained to pilot the newly purchased Black Hawk and Apache helicopters. “We have already received training planes,” he added.

He said he had discussed with President Barack Obama and other US officials the ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation in various sectors, especially between the Defense Department and the Saudi National Guard.

Prince Miteb stressed the National Guard’s efforts to make continuous development and acquire advanced military equipment. “National Guard plays two important roles — military and defense role with the Defense Ministry, and military and security role with the Interior Ministry.”

He said Saudi Arabia being a member of the coalition force would play an effective role in the fight against ISIS. “We have a strategic alliance with the US and we work together in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” he said.

Speaking about the Syrian crisis, Prince Miteb said Bashar Assad would not have any place in future Syria.


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