The US State Department has approved the sale of 300 Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia in a deal worth $3.05 billion and another deal worth $2.25 billion to the UAE for 96 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile rounds.
In a statement released by the Pentagon, the US said Riyadh requested PATRIOT MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical Ballistic missiles (GEM-T). The sale will include other tools and test equipment.
The principal contractor will be US-based Raytheon.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Gulf region,” the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon added that this sale would improve Saudi Arabia’s ability to meet current and future threats by “replenishing its dwindling stock of PATRIOT GEM-T missiles.” It cited “persistent Houthi cross-border” drone and ballistic missile attacks on civilian sites and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.
Al Arabiya English first reported in June that the US was likely to announce the sale of anti-missile interceptors in the coming weeks.
The Iran-backed Houthis doubled the number of attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia during the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, according to a report published by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Separately, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that it had initiated the planning of Exercise EAGLE RESOLVE 23 – a scenario-driven command post exercise (CPX) linked with field training exercises (FTX) scheduled for May-June 2023 in Saudi Arabia.
This will be the 16th iteration of the yearly exercise, which is designed to develop and employ a Combined Joint Task Force to respond to current and emerging regional threats in the Middle East.
Air defense for UAE
The Pentagon also said that the UAE requested to buy THAAD missile rounds, two THAAD Launch Control Stations (LCS), and two THAAD Tactical Operations Stations (TOS). Also included are repair and return, system integration and checkout, and spare and repair parts.
This sale would support US national security interests and improve the security of an important regional partner, the Pentagon said. “The proposed sale will improve the UAE’s ability to meet current and future ballistic missile threats in the region, and reduce dependence on US forces.”
The principal contractor will be Lockheed Martin, with the Pentagon calling the UAE a “vital US partner” for political stability and economic progress in the region.