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Pentagon to send radar, Patriot missiles to support Saudi Arabia's defence


The Pentagon on Thursday said that it will send four radar systems, a battery of Patriot missiles and about 200 support personnel to Saudi Arabia, in a move that would strengthen the Kingdom's defences in the wake of attacks on its oil facilities earlier this month.
Quoting Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, Russia Today reported that in addition to the 200 troops and the air defence systems, two more batteries of Patriot missiles and another battery of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles were placed on standby.
The latest generation of Patriots missile system has a range of up to 35 kilometres. The Sentinel is an X-band radar with a range of up to 40 kilometres, used for air defence spotting.
The deployment was first announced on last Friday by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Esper and Dunford were quoted as saying that the US was talking with European allies to see if they would send any additional troops to Saudi Arabia, which would influence the size of the American deployment.
Washington has been sending a steady stream of military assets to the Kingdom over the past several months, as part of the "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. Tehran has responded by saying that any attack on its territory would be met with a disproportionate and devastating response against both the US assets and allies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
The US has blamed Iran for the September 14 attack on the Saudi oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, even though the Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed responsibility. The attack resulted in major damage to the Saudi oil facilities and a loss of nearly half of the Kingdom's crude supplies.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested during his visit to Saudi Arabia last week that the Kingdom simply didn't have enough US hardware to cover its vast expanse, despite having spent hundreds of billions of dollars on it already.
Calling the US air defence systems "some of the finest in the world," he nevertheless admitted that they "don't always pick things up.

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First Published: Sep 27 2019 | 2:01 AM IST

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