US State Department approves $1.4bn sale of Patriot missiles and upgrades to Kuwait
The US State Department approved three potential equipment sales to Kuwait to upgrade the oil-rich country's Patriot air and missile defence system, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency announced on Thursday that the State Department had approved the sale of 84 interceptor missiles to Kuwait, worth around $800m.
It said that the missiles, called the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancements (MSEs), would be supplied by US defence firm Lockheed Martin.
The State Department also approved a $425m sale for training and technical assistance from Lockheed Martin and defence contractor Raytheon.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies are the main defence contractors for radars, launchers and interceptors that comprise the Patriot air defence system.
A third contract, to be handled by the same companies, is valued at $200m and would cover the repair of the Gulf country's existing Patriot system, it added.
The approval of the sales is not final, but it starts a notification process that alerts Congress a sale to a foreign country has been approved.
"The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO Ally that is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East," the State Department said in a statement.
"The proposed sale of these articles and services will improve Kuwait's capability to meet current and future threats and provide greater security for its critical oil and natural gas infrastructure," it added, alluding to September 2019 attacks on Saudi Aramco's oilfields that US officials attributed to Iran.
Iran denied involvement in the strikes that led to a halt in five percent of world's oil supply and saw the US send thousands of troops and military hardware to the kingdom.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia announced that it was deploying its own missile-defence systems to protect oil installations in the country's east, following reports that the US was withdrawing two of its Patriot missile batteries from the kingdom.