U.S. Defense Firm Touts Growing Antimissile Tech Interest From Persian Gulf

A major U.S. defense company is anticipating higher demand for missile defense products from Persian Gulf nations interested in protecting themselves against attacks, Reuters reported on Tuesday (see GSN, Aug. 10).

"Look, all of the (Gulf Cooperation Council) nations have an interest," Lockheed Martin Vice President for antimissile programs Dennis Cavin said in a telephone call to reporters.

The six-nation body encompasses Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The leading point of concern in the region is Iran, which is strengthening its ballistic missile assets and operates an atomic program that some neighbors suspect is aimed at producing a nuclear-weapon capability.

Lockheed late last year secured a nearly $2 billion deal to provide the United Arab Emirates with two Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense systems that have the capacity to defeat short, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

Cavin said growing Gulf interest in antimissile technology such as the THAAD system is being spurred by U.S. calls for regional countries to enhance and coordinate their missile defense capabilities.

Lockheed Vice President for the THAAD program Mat Joyce said it was too early to share details on possible new purchasers of the system "but as they notify the U.S. government officially of their interest we'll be happy to provide that information to you."

In July, the Defense Department briefed lawmakers of a potential $4.2 billion export deal with Kuwait for 60 Patriot Advanced Capability 3 interceptors and accompanying technology (Jim Wolf, Reuters, Aug. 14).

August 15, 2012
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A major U.S. defense company is anticipating higher demand for missile defense products from Persian Gulf nations interested in protecting themselves against attacks, Reuters reported on Tuesday.