The US Department of State has approved the possible $15 billion sale of THAAD anti-missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon announced on Friday.
“The Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of forty-four (44) Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers, three hundred sixty (360) THAAD Interceptor Missiles, sixteen (16) THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group, seven (7) AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars. Also included are THAAD Battery maintenance equipment, forty-three (43) prime movers (trucks), generators, electrical power units, trailers, communications equipment, tools, test and maintenance equipment, repair and return, system integration and checkout, spare/repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel support services, facilities construction, studies, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The estimated cost is $15 billion.
This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a friendly country. This sale furthers U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats. This potential sale will substantially increase Saudi Arabia’s capability to defend itself against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region. THAAD’s exo-atmospheric, hit-to-kill capability will add an upper-tier to Saudi Arabia’s layered missile defense architecture and will support modernization of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Force (RSADF). Saudi Arabia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.
The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The principal contractors for the THAAD system are Lockheed Martin Space Systems Corporation, Dallas, TX, Camden, AR, Troy, AL and Huntsville, AL; and Raytheon Corporation, Andover, MA., ” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation agency said in a statement.
The announcement followed the October 5 reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement over S-400 air defense systems sail to Riyadh. The sides signed a memorandum the context of contracts to procure the S-400, the Kornet-EM system, the TOS-1A, the AGS-30 and the Kalashnikov AK-103.
The S-400 is an advanced Russian long-range anti-aircraft missile system designed to destroy various air targets including ballistic and cruise missiles.