In the News
October 27, 2022

How A U.S. Arms Embargo Could Impact Saudi Arabia's Air Force

Ryan Bohl, a senior Middle East and North Africa analyst at the risk intelligence company RANE, concurs with Blumenthal and Khanna's shared assertion that it would take years for Riyadh to adequately replace its American hardware, especially advanced jets.

"It takes years to train pilots on specific equipment (two years on the F-16, for example), plus new hardware from other countries could come with language barriers that military institutions would have to adjust to," he told me. "Additionally, pilots would also take years to get used to new equipment (flying an F-16 is quite different than a Rafale or Eurofighter), wasting years of pilot experience on U.S. systems."

"However, if the U.S. did order an (unlikely) full cut off of military aid to Saudi Arabia, the Saudis could continue to conduct limited missions for a time with their U.S. equipment, but they would become increasingly risky without U.S. maintenance support," he said. "Likely, for safety, the Saudis would voluntarily ground most if not all of their U.S.-built air force until the dispute was resolved."

"The Saudis could readily shift to using more of their Typhoon and Tornadoes for military missions if needed while they awaited a resolution of such a hypothetical U.S.-Saudi diplomatic dispute," he added.

Read the full Forbes article here.

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