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While Boeing (NYSE: BA ) shares' 6% tumble may suggest otherwise, this was actually a pretty good week for the defense stalwart. Just one year after the Saudis began taking delivery of dozens of Typhoon jets manufactured by Boeing rival BAE Systems, the Saudis are bellying up to the weapons bar again, and looking for a refill.
Already big fans of the F-15, the Saudis want to up their arsenal by another 84 jets over the next 10 years, a potential $30 billion sale for Boeing. The deal isn't official yet -- negotiations are ongoing as to how advanced a weapons package the F-15s will be allowed to carry without upsetting America's Israeli allies. But assuming the planes are equipped primarily for use in ground attacks on Yemeni insurgents, rather than dueling with Israeli fighter aircraft, the deal should go through without a hitch. It could wrap up as early as next month.
And the news gets better for American industry -- and exporters. In addition to the F-15s, Saudi is reportedly interested in purchasing "dozens" of Black Hawk helicopters from United Technologies (NYSE: UTX ) , potentially adding billions more to the price tag. Last but not least, the more weapons we sell to Saudi Arabia, the more nervous Israel gets, and the more it'll want to purchase even more advanced F-35 fighter jets. Enter a sales opportunity for Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT ) .
Would it "feel" nicer to be selling butter than guns around the globe? Sure it would. But if guns are what the customer wants, then these are the companies positioned to profit from it.