A US defense agency has cleared Qatar to buy a $6.5 billion new Lockheed Martin Corp. missile-defense system to “counter current and future threats” and “reduce dependence on US forces,” the Pentagon has announced.
The UAE has also been cleared to purchase some $1.1 billion in arms, after already signing an a nearly $2 billion initial order for weapons systems last December, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement on its website Monday.
According to Reuters, US lawmakers have 30 days to block the potential sales, but such action is unlikely because deals are often worked out with officials far before they are made public.
Qatar has requested the possible sale of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) fire units, 12 launchers, 150 interceptors, early warning radars, various parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $6.5 billion, according to the DSCA.
With THAAD, Qatar would be able to shoot down ballistic missiles of varying ranges with an interceptor that slams into its target, Reuters states.
The DSCA said the proposed sale would bolster US national security by improving the security of a “friendly” country that helps maintain political and economic stability in the Middle East.
This proposed sale will help strengthen U.S. efforts to promote regional stability by enhancing regional defense capabilities of a key U.S. partner. The proposed sale will help strengthen Qatar’s capability to counter current and future threats in the region and reduce dependence on U.S. forces. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing this weapon system into its armed forces.
Qatar’s bid is presumably part of a larger effort to shore up its defenses to prepare for a possible altercation with Iran.
This year alone, Qatar spent billions on new Apache and Black Hawk attack helicopters and Hellfire missiles from the US and tanks from Germany.
Meanwhile, the US is also reportedly building a missile-defense radar station at a secret site in Qatar.
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