Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has requested help from South Korea to strengthen the Kingdom’s air defense systems, according to the Yonhap News Agency.
The request was made during a phone call between the crown prince and Korean President Moon Jae-in on September 18.
“He requested South Korea’s help in a plan to beef up his nation’s air defense system and the two sides agreed to continue consultations on it,” the Korean Blue House said in an official statement.
The Saudi request came after the Abqaiq–Khurais attack, which was claimed by the Houthis. The attack caused severe damage in two key facilities of Aramco, hindering Saudi oil exports for days.
According to several sources, the attack was carried out with dozens of cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Saudi Arabia’s Western-made air-defense systems failed to detect or to intercept any of the projectiles.
South Korea produces several types of advanced air-defense systems, some in cooperation with Russia’s defense giant Almaz-Antey.
Bin Salman’s request reveals his dissatisfaction with the capabilities of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Force, which has failed to stop dozens of aerial attacks since the outbreak of the Yemeni war in 2015.