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Lockheed awarded $1.5 billion Saudi Arabia THAAD missile defense system contract

Lockheed Martin was awarded an almost $1.5 billion modification to an earlier contract to supply Terminal High Altitude Area Defense Interceptor support items for Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a release.

The $1,473,941,756 firm-fixed-price modification to a 2017 Missile Defense Agency contract (HQ0147-17-C-0032) brings the total value to $5,364,606,980, the Friday, July 19 release said.

The  contract award came a day after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to block $8.1 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, but without the majority needed to prevent President Donald Trump from vetoing the move.

Trump’s administration took the extraordinary step of bypassing Congress to approve the sale in May, declaring Iran to be a “fundamental threat” to the stability of the Middle East. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the administration was responding to an emergency caused by Saudi Arabia’s historic rival Iran.

In April, Lockheed was awarded a $2,457,390,566 modification to the contract for the production of THAAD interceptors and associated one-shot devices for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi portion of that contract award amounted to $1,534,661,340.

The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, developed by Lockheed Martin, is designed to hit-to-kill intercept both short- and medium-range ballistic missiles in terminal or descent phase. It is interoperable with Raytheon’s Patriot missile defense system, already fielded by Saudi Arabia.

The State Department approved a $15 billion THAAD sale to Saudi Arabia in October 2017, which it said at the time would support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region “in the face of Iranian and other regional threats.”

The potential sale includes 360 THAAD Interceptor Missiles, 16 THAAD Fire Control and Communications Mobile Tactical Station Group and seven Raytheon AN/TPY-2 THAAD radars.

The 2017 State Department approval came one day after Saudi Arabia signed deals to purchase Russia’s S-400 air defense missile system and other weapons.

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