Qatar, UAE Plan To Spend $17.5B On U.S. Missile Defense Gear

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WASHINGTON — Qatar and the United Arab Emirates plan to buy a combined $7.6 billion worth of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile interceptor equipment from Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin Corp., the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Nov. 2.

Additionally, Congress received a separate notification Nov. 6 of Qatar’s intent to buy $9.9 billion worth of Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 air and missile defense systems from prime contractors Raytheon Co. of Tewksbury, Mass., and Lockheed Martin.

Qatar wants to buy two THAAD fire units, 12 launchers, 150 interceptors, two fire control and communications devices, two AN/TPY-2 radars and an early warning radar at a cost of $6.5 billion, according to a Nov. 5 Defense Security Cooperation Agency press release. The United Arab Emirates wants to purchase 48 THAAD missiles and nine program launchers, including support equipment, at a cost of $1.1 billion, the agency said in a separate Nov. 5 press release. The Pentagon has approved both sales and Congress has 30 days to block them, Cheryl Amerine, a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman, told SpaceNews.

The Nov. 5 notifications come after a THAAD interceptor successfully destroyed a medium-range target missile in late October launched from a C-17 aircraft that took off from Hickham Air Force Base on Oahu, Hawaii, during a complex test. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif. is the prime contractor for the THAAD system. The test, billed as the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s biggest and most complicated today, featured simultaneous target intercepts by Patriot and ship-based missiles.

The ground-based THAAD system is designed to protect deployed U.S. and allied troops and population centers against short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The system, capable of engaging missile threats both inside and outside the atmosphere, has been in development since the 1990s and in production since 2007.

Qatar, according to a Nov. 7 Defense Security Cooperation Agency press release, intends to buy 11 PAC-3 systems and related equipment.