US gives preliminary approval for arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE
Saudi Arabia seeks $3 billion in Patriot missiles, UAE seeks more than $2 billion in THAAD missile systems
The US State Department approved more than $5 billion combined in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
Up for final approval by US Congress, the sales will replenish the missile supplies of both countries.
"The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," the State Department said regarding both notifications of the sales.
If approved, Riyadh will receive 300 MIM-104E Patriot missiles as well as adjunct systems, tools, materials, and support. The total amount of the package is $3.05 billion.
"These missiles are used to defend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's borders against persistent Houthi cross-border unmanned aerial system and ballistic missile attacks on civilian sites and critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia," the State Department said.
The UAE requested 96 THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missiles, two launch control stations, and two tactical operation stations. The $2.245 billion purchase also includes support and material needed for the missile systems.
A partner in the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the UAE has also been attacked by Houthi drones.
While the UN announced the extension of a ceasefire in Yemen earlier Tuesday, the threat of the Iran-backed Houthis continues to loom over Sunni states in the Persian Gulf.