Saudi Arabia's King Salman has named one of his sons, an air force pilot who has taken part in coalition strikes against the Islamic State group, as the kingdom's new ambassador to the U.S.

The appointment of Prince Khaled bin Salman to Washington signals the kingdom's eagerness to strengthen bilateral ties under President Donald Trump. As the king's son, the prince has a direct line to the Saudi monarch. King Salman made the announcement in a series of royal decrees issued late Saturday.

The F-15 pilot graduated military-aviation training from Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi in 2009 and took part in anti-IS strikes in 2014.

Saudi Arabia is the world's third largest defense spender. Prince Khaled's appointment positions him as an influential broker in deals with U.S. manufacturers.