May 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has approved a possible $2.78 billion contract with the United Arab Emirates for Patriot missiles.
On Friday, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of the possible sale of Patriot Advanced Capability 3 Missiles Segment Enhanced and related equipment.
Also included in the foreign military sale deal are tools and test equipment, support equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, spare and repair parts, facility design, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics, sustainment and program support.
"The proposed sale will enhance the UAE's capability to meet current and future aircraft and missile threats," the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. "The UAE will use the capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense."
Patriot missiles defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. The PAC-3 missiles first were deployed during the Iraq conflict in 2003 with 100 percent effectiveness.
"The 'Hit-To-Kill' PAC-3 Missile is the world's most advanced, capable and powerful terminal air defense missile," according to Lockheed Martin, a prime contractor of the system with Raytheon.
UAE has recently been on a buying spree of military equipment.
In February, the kingdom announced more than $3 billion in purchases on the first two days of the International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, including becoming the first customer of Lockheed Martin's new anti-missile system.
UAE has been ramping up its own defense manufacturing industry, as well. Like other Middle East countries, including Saudi Arabia, it is moving away from relying on the oil industry for revenue.