Moscow, Nov 29: Saudi Arabia has inked a letter of offer and acceptance with the United States for the purchase of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system made by defense company Lockheed Martin, US media reported, citing a State Department spokesperson.
According to the CNBC broadcaster, the document, paving the way to the sale of 44 THAAD launchers, missiles and related equipment, was signed earlier this week. The $15 billion contact has been under discussion since December 2016.
In mid-November, six senators from the US Republican and Democratic parties introduced a bill envisaging sanctions against Saudi Arabia for various atrocities in Yemen, as well as for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2018 prohibits the sale of weapons to Riyadh and provides for an end to US refueling of Saudi-led coalition aircraft that are bombing Yemen.
Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. After weeks of denials, Saudi prosecutors acknowledged that the US-based Washington Post columnist and a vocal critic of Saudi authorities had been killed inside the diplomatic mission.
THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile defense system that intercepts ballistic missiles during their late mid-course or final stage flight both inside and outside the Earth's atmosphere. (UNI- Sputnik)