US approves Patriot missile sale to Saudi Arabia

After his visit to the kingdom, President Joe Biden's administration has approved the $5bn deal

The US Biden administration on Tuesday approved Patriot sales to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom defend itself against Iran and its Houthi proxies in Yemen. AP
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The Biden administration has approved the sale of Patriot missile interceptors to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

The pending deal, comprising $5 billion in missile defence and related sales, comes weeks after US President Joe Biden's July trip to the region, including to Jeddah.

Mr Biden visited in hopes of reaching an oil production agreement to lower petrol prices as US inflation hits 40-year highs.

Despite approval by the State Department, notification to the US Congress of such deals does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.

The procedural step of notifying Congress is often the first public acknowledgment that a deal is in the works.

Saudi Arabia has been hit with rocket attacks from the Iran-backed Houthi rebel movement in Yemen.

The Pentagon said Raytheon Technologies was the prime contractor for the Patriot interceptors and equipment, which could be worth as much as $3.05bn.

“The proposed sale will improve the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s capability to meet current and future threats by replenishing its dwindling stock of Patriot Gem-T missiles,” the State Department said in a notice informing Congress of the sale.

“These missiles are used to defend the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s borders against persistent Houthi cross-border unmanned aerial system and ballistic missile attacks on civilian sites and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia."

During his visit in July, Mr Biden held meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Updated: August 03, 2022, 12:00 AM