INTRODUCTION: Israel has expressed profound regret, horror and unreserved opposition over the United States government's decision to sell radar planes to Saudi Arabia.
GV INTERIOR U.S. State Department spokesman Dean Fischer at news conference
CU Fischer speaking (3 shots)
GV LIBRARY AWACS aircraft taking off and in flight (3 shots)
CU INTERIOR Navigator using Visual Display readouts and aircraft in flight (8 shots).
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
SEQ. 2: FISCHER: "The United States has made a commitment of Saudi Arabia to move forward with the enhancement of the F-15's. This includes conformal fuel tanks, Aim 9-L air-to-air missiles, which will augment the defence role of the F-15, air refuelling capability and air surveillance aircraft, AWACS. We are going to consult with the legislative leaders and the decision has not yet been made as to when the package will be submitted to Congress."
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Israel has expressed profound regret, horror and unreserved opposition over the United States government's decision to sell radar planes to Saudi Arabia. State Department spokesman Dean Fischer announced in Washington on Tuesday (21 April) that the Reagan administration stands committed to its promise to deliver an airforce package to the Gulf country. Such a package includes the sale of Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) planes. They would make the Saudi Air Force the Middle East's most advanced air defence system. Israel has strongly protested at the move saying it undermines peace and security in the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: State Department spokesman Dean Fischer announced the sale on Tuesday (21 April).
Once the decision to sell the sophisticated AWACS planes reaches Congress, the Reagan administration can expect some hard arguing. It had a foretaste when Israel deplored the decision, and Congress is bound to sympathise with the Israeli position. There are worries because the Saudis have refused to make concessions over their potentially hostile relationship with Israel.
Israel, which does not own the sophisticated early warning aircraft, capable of giving notice of any air movement in a 800 kilometre (500 mile) radius, is worried the AWACS planes will take away its air superiority in the Middle East. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter sent four AWACS to Saudi Arabia at the start of the Gulf War, and the Reagan administration believes the sale of its air-defence package will protect its interests in the region. Saudi Arabia expects delivery of the system by 1985.