Kuwait has purchased additional U.S. Patriot missile interceptors that are slated to be delivered no later than the end of June 2016, Defense News reports.
The $263.4 million contract with Lockheed Martin for 14 four-pack Patriot Advanced Capability 3 systems and seven launcher-modification kits was announced by the U.S. Defense Department at the end of 2013.
Kuwait is adding to its PAC-3 capabilities amid moves by partner states in the Gulf Cooperation Council to enhance their own missile-defense capacities. In December, the six-member GCC coalition agreed to establish a Joint Military Command that would allow for the eventual creation of a Joint Missile Defense Platform.
The United States has proposed selling antimissile systems to the GCC group as a block so that it could assemble a regional ballistic-missile shield along the lines of one being built in Europe for NATO. The Gulf Cooperation Council -- encompassing Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- is concerned about possible missile strikes from Iran.
"A unified missile-defense system is a long way but there is definitely progress," Royal United Services Institute research fellow David Roberts said in an interview.
Kuwait's purchase of additional PAC-3 missiles shows that the Kuwaiti government wants to ensure it does not have to rely on others for missile defense, according to Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis researcher Matthew Hedges.
"Kuwait is surrounded by large neighbors with extensive missile inventories and wants to independently protect its array of critical infrastructure that their economy relies on," Hedges said.