The US has announced a $ 3.48bn arms deal with the United Arab Emirates as part of a wider American effort to build up missile defences among Gulf allies.
The announcement late on Friday came a day after the US sealed a $30bn arms deal to provide Saudi Arabia with 84 new F-15 fighter jets.
The agreement with UAE includes 2 sophisticated missile defence batteries, 96 missiles, 2 radars, spare parts and training, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a statement.
“This sale is an important step in improving the region’s security through a regional missile defence architecture,” Little said.
The Pentagon also said it had awarded US defence giant Lockheed Martin Corp a contract worth $ 1.96bn to supply the United Arab Emirates with the 2 THAAD anti-missile batteries.
US officials said the United Arab Emirates is the first country to purchase the advanced anti-missile network known as THAAD, or Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System.
“Acquisition of this critical defence system will bolster the UAE’s air and missile defence capability and enhance the already robust ballistic missile defence co-operation between the US and the UAE,” Little said.
“Lockheed Martin is pleased the US Government and the United Arab Emirates have reached an agreement on a path forward for the first foreign military sale of the THAAD Weapon System,” said Tom McGrath, Vice President and Program Manager for Thaad at Lockheed Martin. “We look forward to working with our customers to deliver this important capability.”
THAAD interceptors are produced at Lockheed Martin’s Pike County Facility in Troy, Alabama. The launchers and fire control units are produced at the company’s Camden, Arkansas, facility.
Lockheed Martin is currently under contract for 4 THAAD batteries for the US Army.
A contract for the delivery of the first 2 US Army batteries was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006. Contracts for batteries 3 and 4 were awarded in 2010 and early 2011 respectively.
Since 2005, the THAAD development program has completed 12 flight tests, with 9 intercepts in 9 attempts.
THAAD is the only missile defense system with the operational flexibility to intercept in both the endo- and exo-atmospheres to provide versatile capability to the warfighter.
Source: Gulf Times; Agencies