US approves $15 billion missile sale to Saudi Arabia

Congress has 30 days to review the sale but is not required to take action

FILE PHOTO: A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor is launched during a successful intercept test, in this undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency.  U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency/Handout via Reuters/File Photo  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

The Trump administration has approved the potential sale of a THAAD anti-missile defence system to Saudi Arabia in a deal valued at up to $15 billion (Dh55.1bn).

The sale is part of a $110 billion package of defence equipment and services announced during President Donald Trump's trip to Riyadh in May, a State Department official told The National.

“It furthers US national security and foreign policy interests and supports the long — term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian and other regional threats,” the official said.

Saudi Arabia requested the possible sale of 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) launchers, 360 missiles, radars and other equipment, the State Department said. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Co are the principal contractors, Reuters reported.

Discussions about the THAAD sale to Saudi have been in the works since the Obama administration and were finalised during Mr Trump’s visit.

According to US law, Congress will now have 30 days to review the sale, but is not required to take any action to approve it.

The sale comes as Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz concludes a landmark visit to Russia where he discussed a potential sale of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, according to Al Arabiya news channel.

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