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Pentagon contracts THAAD missile system for Saudi Arabia

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted Lockheed Martin to supply theTerminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

The contract, announced Friday by the Department of Defense, is worth nearly $1 billion million and covers an undisclosed THAAD FMS KSA Phase I long lead items, obsolescence, tooling and test equipment, key personnel, line requalification activities, initial training development, System Integration Lab and testbeds, three-level maintenance concept, exportability, and early engineering development.

According to DoD’s statement, the performance period is from Feb. 28, 2019, through Oct. 31, 2026.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced in an Oct 6, 2017 statement that the Government of Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of 44 THAAD launchers, 360 THAAD Interceptor missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group and 7 AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars.

This 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).

The THAAD missile system is a land-based platform capable of intercepting ballistic missiles both inside and just outside the atmosphere.

The THAAD element provides a globally-transportable, rapidly-deployable capability to intercept ballistic missiles inside or outside the atmosphere during their final, or terminal, phase of flight. THAAD is strictly a defensive weapon system. The system uses hit-to-kill technology where kinetic energy destroys the incoming target.