No quick decision on $7bn UAE missile deal

Lockheed Martin says third review will take place in spring, no guarantee of completed contract
No quick decision on $7bn UAE missile deal
Missile, Gulf defence
By Ed Attwood
Mon 21 Feb 2011 01:28 PM

Lockheed
Martin has tempered speculation that the UAE will complete its purchase of a
new missile defence system in spring this year.

"We've
had two reviews of the potential contract and we have another one scheduled in
the not-too-distant future," Lockheed Martin's vice president for
international air missile defence Stan Green told reporters at the IDEX
exhibition in Abu Dhabi.

"I would
not expect that some surprise signing would occur today or tomorrow, or
anything like that, because the UAE has some questions that are yet to be
answered by the US government, so that will take place later this spring."

The Terminal
High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system is designed to combat short- to
medium-range ballistic missile threats. When the UAE deal goes through, it will
be the first time that THAAD has been sold outside the US.

Green added
that while the US Congress had approved a sale with a value of up to $7bn, the
final cost of the package is likely to be different.

"I can
tell you that that number is probably not the number it's going to wind up
being because of ongoing negotiations and because of the change in the number
of systems that may be wanted at a given time," the Lockheed Martin
official said.

The UAE is
also currently considering a series of bids, including one from Lockheed
Martin, on an integrated solution for air missile defence.

However, Green
refused to comment on whether Saudi Arabia, or any of the other Gulf countries,
had also expressed an interest in THAAD, instead suggesting that "a number
of countries" had spoken to Lockheed Martin about the system.

The US defence
giant also highlighted recent progress made on its Medium Extended Air Defence
System (MEADS), which has had a 100% 'kill ratio' in testing so far.

Full
flight trials for the next-generation system are scheduled to take place next
year.

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