U.A.E. May Upgrade Missile Defense Systems with Buy from Lockheed

by: Matthew Potter
February 22, 2011

Category: Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Countries, Department of Defense, development program, Events, Lockheed Martin, Military Aviation, missile defense, production program, Raytheon, Services, Sikorsky, UAE, UTC | RSS 2.0

There are now four major international arms and air shows that take place over each two year period. These include IDEX now going on in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), the Singapore Air Show which will be held in February 2012 and the Paris and Farnborough which alternate each year. These shows allow defense contractors and the aerospace industry to showcase their products.

It is common for large contracts to be announced at these events as well and the current IDEX has started to have these happen.

Reportedly the U.A.E. is in discussion with Lockheed Martin (LMT) to purchase the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system. Just over two years ago the U.A.E. and the U.S. Defense Department agreed to buy the Raytheon (RTN) and Lockheed PATRIOT system that provides shorter range defense against missiles, aircraft and cruise missile. When that deal was announced it also included discussions about THAAD.

Now it looks like that contract is close to fruition with Lockheed discussing signing a contract worth up to $7 billion this spring.

The U.A.E. as well as other Gulf states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been investing billions over the last few years in up-to-date American and Western equipment such as Eurofighter Typhoon fighters, Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters and Boeing (BA) and Lockheed transports. This is to improve their level of technology while also balancing Iran’s development of its military.

THAAD is a ground based system that has longer range and the ability to defend a much larger area then the PATRIOT system which is an evolution of the standard U.S. Army air defense missile. The addition of it to the U.A.E. arsenal will allow it to provide a layered defense of its cities and economic resources. THAAD is just now entering service with the United States after a lengthy development and represents a significant upgrade over existing land based systems.

The contract once it is signed also demonstrates again the economic resources of the Gulf states and their desires to maintain well equipped and powerful armed forces.

Photo from Nevada Tumbleweed’s flickr photostream.

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