First Published: 2017-10-07

US to sell THAAD missile defense to Saudi Arabia
$15 billion Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system will be sold to Saudi Arabia to ensure 'long-term security' and counteract 'Iranian threats'.
Middle East Online

THAAD missile launched during interception test.

RIYADH - The US government has approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of the advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system for $15 billion, the State Department said Friday.

"This sale furthers US 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," a statement said.

The THAAD -- which has already been supplied to Saudi Arabia's neighbors Qatar and the United Arab Emirates -- is one of the most capable defensive missile batteries in the US arsenal and comes equipped with an advanced radar system.

Its recent deployment by the US military in South Korea to protect against any North Korean strike drew protests from Beijing, who feared its sensors would be able to penetrate into Chinese air space and upset the balance of power.

But the State Department said it would advise Congress that, in Saudi hands, the system would act to stabilize the situation in the Gulf and help defend US forces in the region and their allies, who face a growing Iranian missile capability.

"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," it said.

Officials said that the sale, which can go ahead if the US Congress does not object within 30 days, should be seen as part of an overall $110 billion arms package that President Donald Trump promised the Saudi kingdom during a visit in May.

"This potential sale will substantially increase Saudi Arabia's capability to defend itself against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region," a statement said.

"THAAD's exo-atmospheric, hit-to-kill capability will add an upper-tier to Saudi Arabia's layered missile defense architecture."

The main US contractors who will profit from the sale are aerospace giant Lockheed Martin's space systems division and defense contractor Raytheon.

 

Iraq dismisses US call for Iranian-backed militias to 'go home'

Opposition calls on Iraqi Kurd leader to step down

IS ‘executed’ 116 suspected of Syria regime collaboration

Israel arrests 51 Palestinians for ‘terror-related’ crimes

Greening the Camps brings food and hope to refugees

UNICEF says 1,100 children malnourished in Syria’s Ghouta

UN says Yemen children in desperate need of aid

Orthodox Jews block Jerusalem entrance in protest

Six terror suspects arrested in Morocco

EU announces 106 million euros in aid for Sudan

French judges to rule on whether 'Jihad' is acceptable name

Saudi Aramco chief confirms IPO despite doubts

Lack of accountability hinders governing in Morocco, analysts say

Sudan editor convicted after Bashirs accused of graft

Russia’s Lavrov urges Iraq-Kurd dialogue

Kurds to arrest 11 Iraqis in response to similar Baghdad move

Car bomb attack kills 9 in south Yemen military base

Rouhani boasts about Iran’s greatness in region

Iraq unrest highlights long-standing political divisions

Bahrain temporarily frees female activist

Egypt court sentences 11 people to death for 'terrorism'

Israel police arrest 15 over anti Jewish-Arab dating campaign

Tillerson woos Gulf allies to curb Iran influence

Abadi, Sadr meet in Jordan

No clear US strategy in Syria after Raqqa liberation

Tillerson pushes to undercut Iran at landmark Saudi, Iraq meeting

Gulf share values plummet

US-backed forces capture key Syria oil field

More than half of Austrians vote for anti-immigration party

Washington sees potential Hezbollah threat in the US

UN ends Libya talks with no progress made

Cairo killing sparks security concerns among Copts

Iraq PM arrives in Saudi to upgrade ties

35 Egyptian police killed in Islamist ambush

Morocco recalls Algeria envoy over 'hashish money' jibe

Ceremony marks 75 years since WWII Battle of El Alamein

Somalia attack death toll rises to 358

Long road ahead for families of jailed Morocco protesters

How Raqa recapture affects complex Syrian war

Israel hits Syrian artillery after Golan fire

Germany advances Israel submarine deal after corruption holdup

Bashir Gemayel's killer convicted, 35 years later

SDF hails 'historic victory' against IS in Raqa

Hamas delegation visits Iran

Turkish court orders release of teacher on hunger strike