The United States has agreed to deliver the tactical ballistic missiles to the Gulf state.
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The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has announced the approval of a $3.05 billion (AU$4.5 billion) purchase request from Saudi Arabia for 300 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical Ballistic Missiles (GEM-T).
The deal also includes tools and test equipment, the provision of range and test programs, and technical support and training.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a partner country that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Gulf region,” the DSCA noted.
“The proposed sale will improve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by replenishing its dwindling stock of Patriot GEM-T missiles.”
The missiles are expected to be deployed against Iran-backed Houthi cross-border unmanned aerial systems and ballistic missile attacks.
“These attacks threaten the well-being of Saudi, international, and US citizens (approximately 70,000) residing in the Kingdom,” the DSCA added.
The Raytheon-built missiles leverage a modernised, digital fuse designed to eliminate obsolescence and deliver performance improvements against tactical ballistic missile targets.
According to Raytheon, the design increases sensitivity for improved performance against high-speed tactical ballistic missile targets.
The “low-noise front end” of the GEM-T reportedly has increased seeker sensitivity for better acquisition and tracking, as well as a modified down-link, built to provide a higher signal-to-interference ratio.
The US State Department’s approval of the Patriot missile sale comes just days after the DSCA confirmed the proposed sale of Javelin lightweight command launch units to the United Kingdom.
The sale includes 513 Javelin lightweight command launch units, as well as:
- Javelin LWCLU basic skills trainers;
- Javelin outdoor trainers;
- Javelin vehicle launcher electronics;
- Javelin LWCLY train the trainer package;
- lifecycle support;
- system integration and check out;
- Javelin operator manual; and
- technical assistance.