The United States has reached an agreement to sell $3.48 billion worth of an advanced antimissile interception system and related missile technology to the United Arab Emirates.
The US Defense Department signed the deal on Dec. 25 and announced it Friday, saying both nations agreed on the contract in the interest of a “secure and stable” Persian Gulf region.
The deal "is an important step in improving the region's security through a regional missile defense architecture," Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement.
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The move is seen as a part of a bid to build a growing military presence near Iran’s allies amid growing tensions, the Associated Press reported.
The US also has a $1.7 billion deal to upgrade Saudi Arabia's Patriot missiles and the sale of 209 Patriot missiles to Kuwait, valued at about $900 million.
Iran warned the US this week that it could disrupt traffic through a critical Persian Gulf oil transport route if Washington imposes new sanctions.
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The deal includes 96 missiles, missile related training and a contract to develop the advanced Terminal High Altitude Area Defense weapon system in the UAE.
THAAD is a US Army system to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles contracted mainly by Lockheed Martin Space Systems and a mix of air defense and aerospace subcontracted companies.