The US state department has approved the possible sale of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) — a US missile defence system — to Saudi Arabia’s government for an estimated $15bn, as the Trump administration seeks to deepen military and economic ties between the two countries.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on Friday that it had delivered notification to Congress about the possible sale. After taking office, US President Donald Trump set the goal of agreeing a total of $110bn in arms sales to Riyadh over the next 10 years.
According to Friday’s statement, the proposed sale:
“will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a friendly country. This sale furthers U.S. 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. This potential sale will substantially increase Saudi Arabia’s capability to defend itself against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region.”
The proposed sale “will not alter the basic military balance in the region”, the statement added.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are the principal contractors for the THAAD system. Lockheed’s shares are up 0.42 per cent today, while Raytheon has registered an 0.2 per cent advance. Neither moved appreciably after the announcement.