Significant Step Taken in U.S.-Saudi THAAD Missile Deal

A personal call between President Donald Trump and King Salman Saudi Arabia helped to finalize an agreement in which the Kingdom will buy Lockheed Martin’s $15 billion THAAD missile defense system, according to reports.

The U.S. State Department said the Saudis and U.S. officials signed letters of offer and acceptance documents on Monday, formalizing terms for Saudi’s purchase of 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) launchers, missiles and related equipment.

THAAD is regarded as “America’s crown jewel in missile defense systems,” according to CNBC. According to a State Department spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the sale of the THAAD missile defense system “benefits U.S. national security by supporting the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of the growing ballistic missile threat from the Iranian regime and Iran-backed extremist groups.”

Trump and King Salman discussed in a late September phone call the THAAD missile defense system deal, a Saudi official told Reuters in October, and said at that time that the deal could get closed by the end of the year.