Alwaght- The US State Department has approved the possible sale of a THAAD anti-missile defense system to Saudi Arabia at an estimated cost of $15 billion.
The proposed sale “will support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a friendly country” and will not alter the basic military balance in the region, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation agency said in a statement.
Lockheed Martin Co (LMT.N) and Raytheon Co (RTN.N) are the principal contractors for THAAD or Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.
After taking office, US President Donald Trump set the goal of agreeing a total of $110bn in arms sales to Riyadh over the next 10 years.
The THAAD announcement comes just hours after Saudi Arabia signed preliminary agreements to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia, officials said, on the sidelines of King Salman's "landmark" visit to Moscow.
The agreement was announced on Thursday as Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted King Salman - the first sitting Saudi monarch to visit Russia - for talks at the Kremlin.
Along with the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, Saudi Arabia is also set to buy Kornet anti-tank guided missile systems and multiple rocket launchers under the deal.
In total, Russia and Saudi Arabia signed $3bn arms deal during King Salman's visit to Moscow.
Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest spenders in the world. It has allocated 191 billion riyals ($51 billion), or 21% of its 2017 budget, to military spending.