WASHINGTON (Agencies) - The United States has confirmed the sale of nearly $30 billion of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. The US will send 84 Boeing F-15 jets to its key Middle Eastern ally, and upgrade 70 existing Saudi F-15s.

The agreement is part of a $60 billion arms deal covering 10-15 years, approved by the US Congress last year. The military hardware deal comes at a time when Washington is working to counter the influence of the Saudis’ bitter regional rival, Iran.

The sale was formally announced on Thursday from Hawaii, where President Barack Obama is on holiday. In Honolulu, White House deputy spokesman Josh Earnest said the deal would support more than 50,000 American jobs at a time of high unemployment.