US approves sale of $15 billion Thaad missile defense system to Saudi Arabia

The US government has approved sale of THAAD missile defense system to Saudi Arabia for $15 billion, the State Department said Friday.

Pentagon said the State Department has signed off on the deal report The Independent.

Saudi Arabia asked to purchase 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers and 360 missiles, as well as fire control stations and radars.

“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,” the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation agency said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin Co is the prime contractor for the THAAD system, with Raytheon Co playing an important role in the system’s deployment.

The United States deployed THAAD to South Korea this year to guard against North Korea’s shorter-range missiles.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed for supply of a number of armament systems expected to be pivotal in the growth and development of the military and weapons systems industry in the Kingdom as per Vision 2030.

The announcement came during Saudi King Salman’s 4-day made visit to Russia, the first by a Saudi monarch.

The Saudi Ministry of Defense signed off with Moscow contracts for the supply of Russia’s most advanced surface-to-air air missile defense systems (S-400), Kornet-EM systems, TOS-1A missiles, AGS-30 bombers, Kalashnikov AK-103 and its ammunition, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

According to the Kommersant newspaper, agreement has already been reached on a $3bn defense supply deal– there may be other deals forthcoming on aircraft and helicopters, according to The Independent.

The Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Rosoboronexportt, Russia’s exports/imports of defense-related and dual use products.

With the directives of Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Mohammed Bin Salman, the two sides signed the agreements which are expected to be pivotal in the growth and development of the military and weapons systems industry in Saudi Arabia, report Al Arabiya English.

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