Valued at up to $7 billion, the advanced U.S. missile defense system being purchased by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is supposed to be used to defend against an attack from Iran. I don't blame the UAE for being concerned about Iran, they are not alone. Should Israel or the United States attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran has promised retaliation.
I see concerns about transferring this kind of technology. In the end, it will depend on which way the political winds are blowing whether Congress will approve this sale. Since President George W. Bush suggested it, there probably isn't a prayers of it passing. But I can always be wrong.
The Pentagon is set to notify the U.S. Congress of the proposed sale, which would be the first of the so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, several people familiar with the matter said.
THAAD is built by Lockheed Martin Corp. Raytheon Co supplies the system's radar.
Once notified of such a proposed arms sale by the administration, Congress has 30 days to review it but almost never blocks.
In any case, deployment of the THAAD system is "at least months away" and could take more than a year, said a congressional staff member familiar with the matter.
A production contract for the first two THAAD "fire units" was awarded to Lockheed Martin in late 2006. Delivery of the first such unit to the U.S. military is scheduled during the fiscal year that starts October 1, the company said.
Kenneth Katzman, an expert on the Gulf at the Congressional Research Service, said the UAE has been eager for a "sophisticated antidote" to Iran's missile capabilities. (continue reading at Reuters)