UAE Antimissile Tech Purchase Expected Within Months

The United Arab Emirates is moving ahead with acquisition of U.S. missile defense technology, but not at the scope previously envisioned, Reuters reported on Wednesday (see GSN, June 23).

The purchase agreement for the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense system should be inked in a matter of months, said Dennis Cavin, vice president for missile defense programs at Lockheed Martin. Cavin early in 2011 said he expected the deal to go through by last spring.

Talks involving Abu Dhabi, Washington and defense manufacturers have exceeded schedule expectations "but there has been no major hitch," Cavin said. "We're making progress."

Cavin, though, acknowledged that the deal would not be worth $7 billion as previously anticipated. There are components of the THAAD system that Abu Dhabi can "do without right now."

"They have made some adjustments," he said to Reuters. Cavin would not offer specifics, but said "they haven't cut in half the number of systems they're buying."

The THAAD system would be used to eliminate short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles within the atmosphere or beyond.

Bloomberg reported in June that Abu Dhabi had decided to cut its purchase order of THAAD missile interceptors from 144 to 96, and to buy two related Raytheon-built radar systems rather than four.

Saudi Arabia is likely to purchase THAAD technology after the UAE deal goes through, said Riki Ellison, head of the nongovernmental Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (Jim Wolf, Reuters/Yahoo!News, Aug. 24).

August 25, 2011
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The United Arab Emirates is moving ahead with acquisition of U.S. missile defense technology, but not at the scope previously envisioned, Reuters reported on Wednesday (see GSN, June 23).