The US and UAE Governments could finalise the sale of the theatre high-altitude area defence (THAAD) system worth $7bn next year, Lockheed’s chairman and chief executive Robert Stevens has said.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the UAE could acquire three THAAD fire units equipped with 147 anti-ballistic missiles, four radar sets, six fire-control communication stations and nine launchers.

A THAAD missile carries no explosive warhead but is capable of destroying its target with a direct impact at an altitude of up to 150km, according to the National.

The projected sale would be the first international sale of the defence technology and would provide UAE with an upper-altitude layer of missile defence in addition to the Patriot missile system.

THAAD has been developed by Lockheed and subcontractors including Raytheon and Boeing.