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Washington (AFP) Nov 06, 2012
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have asked to buy more than $7.6 billion in US missile defense technology, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
The orders for the Lockheed Martin-made equipment were detailed in documents posted online late Monday by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which said it had notified Congress of the request.
Qatar has requested two Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) fire units, 12 launchers and 150 interceptors, as well as radar units, other equipment, spare parts and training, all worth an estimated $6.5 billion.
The UAE has asked for 48 THAAD missiles and nine launchers, as well as spare parts and training, for a total of $1.135 billion, according to a second filing.
The THAAD system is designed to intercept and destroy ballistic missiles, including those carrying weapons of mass destruction.
The Pentagon recommended both proposed sales, saying the technology would strengthen regional security and reduce both states' dependence on US forces.
Qatar, the UAE and other petroleum-rich Gulf states have eyed nearby Iran with increasing concern in recent years amid mounting tensions over Tehran's controversial nuclear program.
The United States maintains a large military presence in the Gulf and has sold billions of dollars worth of arms in recent years to Saudi Arabia and allied Gulf states.
In December 2011 the United States signed a nearly $30 billion deal to sell F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia in a move likely aimed at countering Iran.
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