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US State Dept. Approves $15B Missile Defense Sale to Saudi Arabia

US State Dept. Approves $15B Missile Defense Sale to Saudi Arabia”

Experts say this means Riyadh, traditionally a United States customer, is looking for military hardware alternatives.

The approval, announced on October 6, clears the way for Saudi Arabia to purchase 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense launchers and 360 interceptor missiles, as well as fire control stations, radars and trucks.

Saudi Arabia is a semi-continent that needs to protect is land, air and marine borders through possessing air defense capabilities and other weapons that will enable it to lead tactical military work, he explained.

Contacts between Moscow and Riyadh over the supplies of Russian S-400 air defense systems to Saudi Arabia have achieved a very good preliminary result, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday. "The contacts over implementing this deal have been very positive", TASS quoted Peskov as saying.

During the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Russian Federation last week deals worth at least $2,1 billion were signed, according to a Kremlin statement.

XAutoplay: On | OffLate Friday, the State Department OK'd a possible $15 billion sale of 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers and 360 missiles from Lockheed.

Russia's S-400 missile defense system on display in Moscow.

Despite increasing coverage over Saudi Arabia's involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks, the two countries share an interest over Iran's ballistic missile program in the Middle East.

Both Washington and Saudi Arabia accuse Tehran of aggressive and disruptive behavior in the region. "This visit is the beginning of strategic cooperation", al Harithi said. It is also the recognition that Russian Federation is an important mediator in Saudi Arabia's relations, for example with Iran.

The US deal is believed to be part of a $110 billion arms package promised by President Trump to the Saudi kingdom during a visit in May.



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