The United States plans to sell the United Arab Emirates $2 billion worth of Patriot missiles in an arms deal announced days before President Donald Trump begins a tour of Middle Eastern nations.
The weapons include 60 Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) missiles and 100 Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missile-Tactical (GEM-T) missiles, along with supporting equipment and services from U.S. government personnel and contractors, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on its website. Congress was notified of the sale this week.
“The UAE will use the capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense,” DSCA said.
The United Arab Emirates, one of the closest U.S. allies in the Middle East, has voiced alarm at what it sees as a rise in Iranian support for militant groups across the region, including in Yemen, where the UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition battling Shiite Houthi rebels.
Trump will meet with leaders from Gulf nations, including the United Arab Emirates, in Saudi Arabia during his inaugural overseas trip, one that is expected to include discussion of the Iranian threat.
Patriot guided missiles are some of the most world’s most sophisticated surface-to-air defense tools. The system, developed by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, can intercept incoming missiles or aircraft as small as a commercial drone.
The United Arab Emirates has used Patriot batteries since 2009, DSCA said.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said this week that the United States may move a long-range Patriot battery to Lithuania amid increasing tension with Russia. It would the first of its kind to be stationed in the Baltics.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Missy Ryan