United States approves $15 billion worth THAAD missiles sale to Saudi Arabia

Saudis can’t effectively use THAAD & S-400 without extensive training’ – former Pentagon official

The transaction covers the delivery of 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense launchers, 360 interceptor missiles, 16 fire control and communications mobile tactical station groups and seven AN/TPY-2 radars.

The green light for the deal, which Saudi Arabia has long sought, came one day after King Salman met Russia's President Vladimir Putin and signed a preliminary agreement to look at Moscow's S-400 air defense system.

"THAAD's exo-atmospheric, hit-to-kill capability will add an upper-tier to Saudi Arabia's layered missile defence architecture".

The agreement was one of many weapons deals reached during Saudi King Salman's first visit to Russian Federation last week.

On October 5, King Salman became the first ever Saudi monarch to visit Russian Federation.

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"We reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia for the supply of S-400 air defense systems, Kornet-EM anti-tank missiles, TOS-1A systems, automatic AGS-30 grenade launchers and Kalashnikov AK-103 assault rifles", she told Sputnik.

Saudi Arabia is a long-standing USA ally in the Middle East and its arms deals with Moscow have caused concern in Washington.

When asked about fears that Saudi Arabia could use the S-400 system against Iran, a Russian ally, Peskov said Moscow's decision to offer the missiles to Riyadh was not aimed at any third party.

This sale is likely to further United States national security and foreign policy interests and support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region.

Washington deployed THAAD, which is used to guard against ballistic-missile attacks, to South Korea this year for defense against North Korea. Saudi Arabia's neighbours, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have also been supplied THAAD systems.

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