The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential $5.4bn foreign military sale (FMS) of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles and associated equipment to Saudi Arabia.
Under the sale, the Saudi Arabian Government has requested for the supply of 600 PAC-3 cost reduction initiative (CRI) missiles along with containers, eight PAC-3 CRI test missiles for fly-to-buy, PAC-3 telemetry kits, and PAC-3 guidance enhanced missile flight test target / patriot as a target (PAAT) missiles.
The package also includes fire solution computers, launcher modification kits, PAC-3 missile round trainers, PAC-3 slings, patriot automated logistics system kits, shorting plugs, spare and repairs parts, lot validation and range support, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, as well as other related elements of logistics and programme support.
Approved by the US State Department, the proposed sale would modernise and replenish Saudi Arabia's existing Patriot missile stockpile, which is becoming obsolete and difficult to maintain due to age and limited availability of repair parts.
The procurement of the PAC-3 missiles is expected to support the country's current and future defence missions and promote stability within the region.
The proposed sale also contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security of a partner, which has been, and continues to serve as an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control and Raytheon have been named as prime contractors for the FMS programme.
An upgraded variant of the Patriot missile, the PAC-3 is an advanced, hit-to-kill air defence projectile weapon, designed to defeat a broad spectrum of incoming tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, as well as aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles by direct, body-to-body impact.
The PAC-3 currently provides missile defence capabilities for six countries, including the US, the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, and the UAE.
Image: A Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile being fired. Photo: courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corporation.