The U.S. State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system to Saudi Arabia, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced.
The sale also includes related support, equipment and services for an estimated cost of $15 billion.
Saudi Arabia has requested a possible sale of 44 THAAD launchers, 360 THAAD Interceptor Missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group and 7 AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars.
Also included are THAAD Battery maintenance equipment, 43 prime movers (trucks), generators, electrical power units, trailers, communications equipment, tools, test and maintenance equipment, repair and return, system integration and checkout, spare/repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel support services, facilities construction, studies, and other related elements of logistics and program support.
According to DSCA, this proposed sale sale furthers U.S. 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 sale will substantially increase Saudi Arabia’s capability to defend itself against the growing ballistic missile threat in the region. THAAD’s exo-atmospheric, hit-to-kill capability will add an upper-tier to Saudi Arabia’s layered missile defense architecture and will support modernization of the Royal Saudi Air Defense Force (RSADF).
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), formerly Theater High Altitude Area Defense, is a anti-ballistic missile defense system designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase by intercepting with a hit-to-kill approach.
THAAD was developed after the experience of Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991. The THAAD interceptor carries no warhead, but relies on its kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile.
A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional warhead ballistic missiles, and nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will not detonate upon a kinetic energy hit.
Each THAAD system is comprised of five major components: interceptors, launchers, a radar, a fire control unit and support equipment, according to Lockheed Martin, the security and aerospace company that serves as the prime contractor for the equipment.
Key subcontractors include Raytheon, Boeing, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Honeywell, BAE Systems, Oshkosh Defense, MiltonCAT and the Oliver Capital Consortium.