Raytheon Co. has won a $1.7 billion contract with Saudi Arabia, a move that will allow the Waltham, Mass.-based defense contractor to complete work on the country’s Patriot air and missile defense systems.
Raytheon says the contract will allow it to upgrade the missile system by providing the most advanced technology available, including new ground-system hardware, training and new equipment. Saudi Arabia is one of 12 countries to employ the Patriot missile defense system, defined by Raytheon as “a full range of advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and UAVs.”
The business agreement — one of the largest even by defense industry standards — is seen as a political move for the U.S., providing enhanced missile defense capabilities to a military ally that is threatened by Iran.
“Saudi Arabia depends on the U.S. for its own security,” Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, told The Boston Globe. “I think that a willingness to continually buy high-ticket items from us, thereby helping sustaining the military-industrial complex, is part of the way that Saudi Arabia stays in the United States’ good graces.’’
Raytheon says Saudi Arabia has been a customer for years, purchasing Patriot missile equipment since 1990.
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