U.S. to sell $15 bln THAAD missile defense to Saudi Arabia

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U.S. to sell $15 bln THAAD missile defense to Saudi Arabia

The Kremlin said Monday that its deal to sell Saudi Arabia the advanced S-400 system is progressing despite the key US ally getting approval to buy a Lockheed Martin (LMT) system Friday.

Maria Vorobyeva, spokeswoman for the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told the RIA Novosti news agency that a deal on the air defense system had been agreed with Riyadh.

Prompted by Iran's threats to the Gulf region, the United States has reportedly approved the sale of THAAD anti-missile defence system to Saudi Arabia at an estimated cost of United States dollars 15 billion, the Pentagon said on Friday.

"We can speak only for ourselves", said Peskov.

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.

"This sale furthers USA 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", a statement said.

According to the Russian Kommersant newspaper, an agreement has already been reached on a $3-billion deal to supply the Saudis with Russia's most advanced air defense missile system, the S400 Triumph.

"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 statement said.

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.

Both Washington and Saudi Arabia accuse Tehran of aggressive and disruptive behavior in the region.

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

The United States deployed THAAD to South Korea this year to guard against North Korea's shorter-range missiles.

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