UAE set to announce order for 96 Thaad missiles to combat Iran threat
The UAE has signed a deal valued at as much as $3.49 billion for Lockheed Martin's newest missile interceptor, according to US government officials.
According to news agency Bloomberg, the initial installment of a so-called “undefinitized contract action” is valued at about $1.96 billion. The Pentagon may announce the contract action as soon as next week, said an unnamed official.
The missiles are known as Thaad (Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense) and
are a vital part of the regional defence that the Obama administration plans to deploy in the Middle East against Iran’s medium- and long-range ballistic missiles. According to Bloomberg sources, batteries of land-based interceptors would be linked with the U.S. Navy’s detection systems on Aegis-class destroyers and cruisers.
Assuming the deal goes ahead, the UAE will be the first Thaad international buyer. In September 2008, when it was first proposed for congressional approval, the Pentagon said the deal would be valued at as much as $6.95 billion if all options were exercised.
Bloomberg reported in August 2010 that the UAE had scaled back the sale by about one- third. It “adjusted its requirement” to 96 interceptors from 144. It also reduced its purchase -- from four to two -- of Raytheon’s AN/TPY-2 mobile search and tracking radars. The new radar plan supports two missile batteries, rather than three, according to a Missile Defense Agency document.