Qatar and the United Arab Emirates want to buy Lockheed Martin Corp. air-defense interceptors, radar, parts and support valued at as much as $7.6 billion if all options are exercised, according to the Pentagon.
The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress yesterday of a potential $6.5 billion sale to Qatar, location of a key U.S. regional air-operations center. It also announced a $1.13 billion sale to the United Arab Emirates for additional weapons, launchers and spare parts -- its second purchase of the interceptor system known as Thaad.
The interceptors are part of the regional defense that President Barack Obama’s administration is deploying in the Middle East against Iran’s medium- and long-range ballistic missiles. Batteries of land-based interceptors would be linked with the U.S. Navy’s detection systems on Aegis-class destroyers and cruisers.
Iran’s military continues to improve the accuracy and killing power of its long- and short-range ballistic missiles, including designing a weapon to target vessels, according to a Pentagon report to Congress.
“Iran has boosted the lethality and effectiveness of existing systems by improving accuracy and developing new submunition payloads” that extend the destructive power over a wider area than a solid warhead, according to the June 29 assessment.
The latest UAE request is in addition to two Thaad units the nation bought from Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed in December 2011, valued at about $1.96 billion. The UAE was the first international buyer of Thaad.
When the UAE sale was first proposed in September 2008 for congressional approval, the Pentagon said the deal might be valued at as much as $6.95 billion if all options were exercised.
The Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, or Thaad, missile interceptors are produced in Troy, Alabama, and fire-control equipment and launchers are made in Camden, Arkansas.
Raytheon Co., based in Waltham, Massachusetts, provides the radar, and Morris Township, New Jersey-based Honeywell International Inc. makes the missile’s mission computer. Aerojet, part of GenCorp Inc., based in Rancho Cordova, California, makes the Thaad rocket motor. The U.S. subsidiary of the U.K.’s BAE Systems Plc produces the missile seeker.
Lockheed rose 38 cents to $94.10 yesterday at the close of New York trading and has climbed 16 percent this year.