July 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of 50 Patriot Advanced Capability missiles, plus parts and support, to Germany at an estimated cost of $401 million.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Friday notified Congress of the possible sale, which is meant to improve the security of Germany and NATO, which requires a "strong and ready self-defense capability."
The Missile Segment Enhancement upgrade consists of the PAC-3 missile, an interceptor, a fire solution computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System. The missile system uses a solid propellant rocket motor, aerodynamic controls, attitude control motors and inertial guidance to navigate.
Germany also seeks to purchase PAC-3 MSE shorting plugs, missile canister consumables, missile skid kits, PAC-3 MSE repair and return, and missile field surveillance program for PAC-3 MSE.
"This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the U.S. by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally, which is an important force for political and economic stability in Europe," the DSCA said. "It is vital to US national interests to assist our German ally in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability."
The missiles will enhance Germany's air defense capability and its lethality against air defense threats, according to DSCA.
The prime contractor of the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade is Lockheed Martin, which manufactured more than 2,000 missiles. Raytheon produces the radar component of the system. In all, 16 nations have the system, including the United States.
Patriots 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.
In February, Lockheed was awarded a $680 million deal for production and testing of the missiles in foreign military sales to Germany, as well as Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Saudia Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates. Raytheon also received $102.5 million for parts on domestic and Netherlands Patriot systems on the same day.
Other countries with Patriots are Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar and Spain.
In March, the U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $506.9 million contract to build the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles at its plant in Grand Prairie, Texas.