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Wed 16 Jul 2008 08:10 AM

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Kuwait signs up to $156mn missile deal

Gulf state places order with US defence contractor for air defence and missile system.

Kuwait has place an order worth $156 million with defence contractor Raytheon Co for its Patriot air defence and missile system.

The deal is the latest with the US-based company and follow recent orders during the first half of the year from both the Taipei and Seoul governments totalling $320 million, the Kuwait Times reported on Wednesday, quoting the company's vice president Sanjay Kapoor.

To date, Raytheon has supplied 10 foreign governments with its Patriot system since 1984, including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Kuwait's contract, authorised by the US government, will provide an upgraded radar system to better discriminate against potential targets.

With tensions in the Middle East and Asia, an increasing number of countries have expressed interest in the Patriot program, Kapoor said.

The Patriot is a medium- to long-range missile used to counter threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

Its radar tracks airborne objects and then displays them as symbols on a screen. Its operator than has seconds to decide whether to override the machine, or let it fire.