Riyadh strengthen its defence armor with ‘Best Missile System’
Saudi arabia–The first four locations for Saudi Arabia’s THAAD systems are expected to be finished by the end of 2026, and all seven by April 2028, according to a document released on August 15 as part of a proposal request, Janes reported.
To select a contractor to oversee the Saudi Arabian building projects stated in the document, the RFP was made available to the public.
The initial battery installation at Ras al-Ghar on Saudi Arabia’s Gulf coast would take place in February 2026, while the THAAD ballistic missile interceptor storage facility at Al-Kharj in central Saudi Arabia would be finished in January 2025.
Later that year, battery sites will be built at Yanbu and Taif in the west, as well as King Khalid Military City (KKMC) in the north. Seven new THAAD facilities will be built in total.
The Saudi defense industry regulator, the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI), had previously declared on March 7 that THAAD missile interceptor launchers and canisters would be produced locally.
In October 2017, the US State Department initially approved a $15 billion foreign military sale to Saudi Arabia for THAAD and related support, equipment, and services. More than a year later, in November 2018, the Saudi Arabian government and the US signed a letter of offer and acceptance for Lockheed’s THAAD.
The projects, according to a statement by GAMI, are a part of Saudi Arabia’s pledge to spend 50% of the money set aside for defense goods and services domestically by the year 2030.
The capacity of Saudi Arabia to protect itself against the region’s expanding ballistic missile threat may be boosted by the local production of THAAD subsystems. The Royal Saudi Air Defense Force’s upgrading is supported by THAAD’s exo-atmospheric, hit-to-kill capability, which gives Saudi Arabia’s layered missile defense system an advantage (RSADF).
The Iran-backed Houthi rebels that the Saudi-Emirati alliance is fighting in Yemen have upped their attacks and threats against the Saudi Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. To defend itself from attackers, the UAE is also receiving THAAD systems.
A press release from the Defense Department states that Lockheed Martin, the company that makes THAAD, has also been awarded a $1.4 billion modification contract extension to continue producing THAAD interceptors for the US and Saudi Arabia.
THAAD-Level Security For Saudi Arabia
As part of a bigger economic strategy, Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest importers of foreign weapons, intends to localize more than 50% of its defense spending by 2030.
When it was first revealed that the Gulf nation would produce THAAD Subsystems, Joseph Rank, chief executive for Lockheed Martin in Saudi Arabia and Africa, said in the joint statement, “This announcement will significantly boost global and regional security while supporting job creation and economic prosperity in Saudi Arabia.”
Other than Saudi Arabia, several other countries have purchased the THAAD system, which can intercept short- and medium-range ballistic missiles at higher altitudes than earlier systems like the Patriot batteries used around the area.
United Arab Emirates, a neighbor of Saudi Arabia, used THAAD for the first time in battle earlier this year when it wiped out incoming missiles fired by Houthi rebels.
The transportable THAAD system has the ability to intercept ballistic missiles as they are in their final stages of flight. It intercepts ballistic missiles both within and outside of the atmosphere using a single-stage, hit-to-kill interceptor and the AN/TPY-2 X-band radar.
Large swaths of the territory in and around the US are shielded by THAAD, a middle-tier part of the US Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). It has proven in flight tests that it is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles with short, medium, and intermediate ranges.
The interceptor, launch vehicle, radar, and fire control system are the four basic parts of THAAD. It would be important for Saudi Arabia to produce its own interceptors and canisters since it would lessen the country’s heavy military reliance on the United States.