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Pentagon approves $495 million sale of Sikorsky helicopters to Riyadh

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A UH-60L Black Hawk flies a low-level mission over Iraq in January 2004. (Wikipedia)

The United States has approved selling Saudi Arabia nine UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, valued at $495 million, the Pentagon says.

According to the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the deal is aimed at providing security to the country, engaged in daily bombardment of neighboring Yemen, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Tasked with overseeing foreign arms sales, the agency said the Saudis had requested nine helicopters, 21 T700-GE-701D engines built by General Electric Co, embedded GPS systems, machine guns, and missile warning systems.

It further claimed they were supposed to be used by the Royal Saudi Land Forces Aviation Command (RSLFAC) for search and rescue, disaster relief, humanitarian support, counterterrorism, and combat operations.

Earlier in the day, Saudi Arabian warplanes bombarded Sa’ada and Ta’izz provinces, respectively in the northwest and southwest of the impoverished Yemen, taking the lives of at least five people.

Yemen has been under military strikes on a daily basis since Saudi forces launched a military aggression on March 26, in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and restore power to fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Around 7,000 people have reportedly lost their lives, including hundreds of Yemeni children.

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