Saudi Arabia Purchases THAAD Anti-ballistic Missile System

Saudi Arabia plans to prepare the first sites for the U.S. air defense system THAAD within four years.

The government of the largest state on the Arabian Peninsula has spent $15 billion to buy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, named as the best U.S. air defense system. By the end of the year, the kingdom will have completed the first four sites. In April 2028, all seven sites for THAAD will be ready.

The Saudi Arabia will build a storage facility for THAAD missiles in early 2025 in Al Kharaja. The first position for the deployment of a battery of missile systems will be commissioned in February 2026 on the Persian Gulf coast. Three more sites will be located in Yanbu, Taif and Khalida. Work on them will be completed during 2026.

In addition to THAAD, Saudi Arabia will soon receive 300 missiles for Patriot SAMs. The corresponding agreement between the states was concluded in early August 2022. The cost of the contract is $3.05 billion.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defense can destroy enemy ballistic missiles with a launch range of 3500 km both in the atmosphere and outside it. The interception altitude is 200 km. THAAD uses 900 kg missiles that can reach speeds of over Mach 8 (2,800 m/s). The radar system of the missile complex is capable of detecting enemy targets at a distance of 1,000 kilometers.

Lockheed Martin has clinched two contracts totaling $4.7 billion to manufacture cutting-edge radar and air defense systems for the US and allied nations.

One of the contracts requires the American firm to produce Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptors and associated devices for the US military and Saudi Arabia.

According to Lockheed, the THAAD system provides a critical capability to defend against short- and medium-range ballistic missiles.

The $1.43-billion agreement will follow foreign military sales case requirements and has an expected completion date of August 2027.

The other contract requires Lockheed Martin to build AN/TPQ-53 radar systems for unidentified US allies under a $3.26 billion agreement.

The solid-state radar system can detect, classify, and track the location of indirect enemy fire.

Work is expected to be complete by March 2027.

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