USA approves $15 billion sale of THAAD missile system to Saudi Arabia

Russia's S-400 missile defense system on display in Moscow

The U.S. State Department has OK'd a $15 billion missile defense sale to Saudi Arabia, despite some lawmakers' objections over human rights concerns.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in an October 6 statement that it had notified the U.S. Congress about the possible sale, saying the deal would "support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States".

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense signed contracts for the S-400 air defence system, the Kornet-EM system, the TOS-1A, the AGS-30, and the Kalashnikov AK-103.

The department said the sale of the equipment to the Saudi people would help provide a balance to a relatively unstable environment in the Gulf and to help the United States forces enlarge its allied grip on the region.

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U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey also has plans to buy the S-400 system instead of the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS), which is jointly built by Lockheed as well as German and Italian defense companies.

During the first visit by a Saudi king to Russia, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Russian President, Vladimir Putin, underlined the rapprochement between the two countries by signing important agreements in the military and energy fields.

The Rosoboronexport state arms exporter signed a contract for the licensed production of AK-103 assault rifles and ammunition in Saudi Arabia, Vorobyeva added.

The U.S.is also focused on increasing missile defense at home and for allies as tensions heat up in the Pacific and the Middle East, as well as with Russian Federation. "The return of Moscow [to the Middle East] will help create the balance of power and resolve complex issues", al Harithi said. "So we have a strong interest in cooperation".

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