U.S. to sell $15 bln THAAD missile defense to Saudi Arabia


Contacts between Moscow and Riyadh over the supplies of Russian air defense systems S-400 to Saudi Arabia have a very good preliminary result, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when asked if there was a risk the deal might not take place.

Maria Vorobyeva, spokeswoman for the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, told the RIA Novosti news agency that a deal on the air defense system had been agreed with Riyadh.

"We can speak only for ourselves", said Peskov.

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According to business daily Kommersant, the new arms contracts with Saudi Arabia are worth more than $3 billion, $2 billion of which will be spent by Saudis on the S-400.

During the visit of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Russian Federation last week, deals worth at least 2.1 billion USA dollars were signed, according to a Kremlin statement.

Saudi Arabia has been quietly planning to build its own military empire and over the last week, it's announced how it plans to do so. "This process is very hard because Saudi Arabia has been closely connected with the United States for many years - financial, economic, political relations", political scientist Yury Pochta told Sputnik Radio.

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The presence of Russian Federation in the Middle East will contribute to the creation of the balance of power and resolve complex issues in the region, Zahir al Harithi, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Saudi Arabia's Consultative Council, told Sputnik Monday.

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Russia's state company Rosoboronexport for procurement of several armament systems. Saudi Arabia's neighbours, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, have also been supplied THAAD systems.

The THAAD - which has already been supplied to Saudi Arabia's neighbors Qatar and the United Arab Emirates - is one of the most capable defensive missile batteries in the U.S. arsenal and comes equipped with an advanced radar system. The system is able to track and engage up to 300 targets to an altitude of 27 kilometers at the same time.

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