US clears THAAD sale to Saudi Arabia
By: Aaron Mehta 7 Otobber 2017
WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has cleared a potential $15 billion
request for Saudi Arabia to purchase the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense
(THAAD) missile defense system.
The THAAD deal was a core part of the $110 billion weapons sale offering
presented by U.S. President Donald Trump during a May 20 visit to Saudi
Arabia. The announcement Friday is a notification from the Defense Security
Cooperation Agency (DSCA) and does not mean the deal is completed yet.
In June, Defense News was the first to reveal that the U.S. offer to Saudi
Arabia included $13.5 billion for seven THAAD batteries, with an estimated
delivery time of 2023-2026. Six launchers, with eight interceptors per
launcher, generally make up a battery.
The package that cleared Friday would include 44 THAAD launchers, 360
interceptors, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical
Station Groups and seven AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars, along with associated
support equipment and training.
There is no timetable listed in the DSCA notification. Prime contractors for
the system are Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company and Raytheon. The
projected cost would be $15 billion, although the exact dollar figure and
equipment totals can shift during negotiations.
As with all DSCA announcements, Congress now has a chance to review and
block any foreign military sale. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in June that he would look to block any weapon
sales to Gulf Cooperation Council members over their row with Qatar.
However, Corker has since clarified that applies only to sales announced
after June of this year, which means the Saudi package, having been
announced May 20, would appear exempt. It is possible other members may
Notably, the announcement comes just one day after Saudi Arabia announced it
was buying the Russian-made S-400 air defense system in a move pundits
believe could reflect Riyadh hedging its bets on its relationship with the