By Daniel Shane
Pentagon could sell $4.2bn missile defence system to Gulf state amid Iran tensions - report
Defence contractor Raytheon Systems is close to completing negotiations to sell Patriot air defence technology to Kuwait, a senior executive has told Bloomberg.
Sanjay Kapoor, vice president of integrated air and missile defence at the US firm, said that the Pentagon estimated the deal to be worth up to $4.2bn.
Kapoor also told the news agency that Turkey was considering a purchase of Patriot missiles, with a potential deal this year, as it mulled options from Western Europe, China and Russia. A possible agreement with Oman for the export of Nasams air defence system, originally developed in Norway, is also advancing.
Raytheon also said that discussions were taking place with Germany to upgrade its Patriot systems, with the country reviewing its air defence capabilities after a plan to build a Lockheed Martin-based system jointly with the US and Italy was dropped.
Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson last year said that he expected Qatar, Turkey and Oman to make billions of dollars of missile defence orders this year, as it sought to offset plans to reduce defence spending at the White House.
Gulf states have been bumping up their military spending amid increased tensions with Iran, which has faced several rounds of sanctions from the EU and US over its disputed nuclear enrichment programme.
According to the latest Global Militarisation Index by the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC), the Middle East is the most militarised region in the world, with all of its countries ranked among the top 40 and three of the six Gulf states in the top ten. Kuwait is considered the most militarised in the GCC, in seventh position globally, followed by Bahrain (9th) and Saudi Arabia (10th).
The high rankings were as a result of a dramatic increase in foreign weapon sales by the US to Gulf states, which tripled in 2011 to $66.3bn, as regional governments sought to build up their military supplies amid growing tensions with Iran.