US approves sale of $15bn missile THAAD defence system to Saudi Arabia

US approves sale of $15bn missile  THAAD defence system to Saudi Arabia
Sat Oct 7, 2017 09:27:42

The US state department has approved the possible sale of a anti-missile defence system to Saudi Arabia at an estimated cost of $15bn, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Theguardian-- The approval opens the way for Saudi Arabia to purchase 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) launchers and 360 missiles, as well as fire control stations and radars.

The Pentagon’s defense security cooperation agency said in a statement: “This sale furthers US 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.”

The US deployed Thaad to South Korea this year to guard against North Korea’s shorter-range missiles. That has drawn fierce criticism from China, which says the system’s powerful radar can probe deep into its territory.

It is now up to the US Congress to approve the deal within 30 days. The State Department said it would advise lawmakers that, in Saudi hands, the system would "stabilize" the situation in the region and help defend US forces and their allies there.

"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," it said, probably referring to Israel's concerns about the Trump administration's extensive arms deals with the Riyadh regime.

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