U.S. Looks to New Antimissile Tech Sales to Gulf

The United States might soon declare additional sales of antimissile technology to friendly nations in the Persian Gulf, Reuters quoted a high-level U.S. official as saying on Friday.

The comments come amid escalating concerns about Iran's ballistic missile and nuclear capabilities.

"Our aim is to help our Gulf partners with their defense needs ... there is a missile threat that they face, we want to help them face that threat as best they can," the official said ahead of talks Friday between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

"We've had expressions of interest from our partners in the Gulf in additional missile defense capabilities," the official said. "We hope that we will be having announcements in the near future regarding those expressions of interest."

The official did not provide details. The United Arab Emirates, though, at the end of 2011 became the first outside government to buy Lockheed Martin's Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense antimissile system, in a $1.96 billion deal. Other GCC states are also looking at the THAAD technology, according to the U.S. defense contractor. Some have already acquired other air defenses such as the Patriot system.

Washington has focused on direct collaboration with Gulf states, rather than a multilateral effort, to strengthen regional capacities to detect and counter potential Iranian missile strikes, Reuters reported. The hope, according to the Obama administration, is to establish a web of defenses that would work alongside U.S. missile defense assets and add to the shield being established in Europe.

Development of collaborative missile defense among Gulf states has been curbed by worries about exchanges of information and which state might host the command site for such an operation.

 

 

October 1, 2012
About

The United States might soon declare additional sales of antimissile technology to friendly nations in the Persian Gulf, Reuters quoted a high-level U.S. official as saying on Friday.