Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Bahrain agreed to purchase the Patriot missile defense system, manufacturer Raytheon Co. announced, marking the start of contract negotiations.
The U.S. government will now work with Raytheon to finalize the number of systems and missiles to be sold to Bahrain under the foreign military sale, the company said Tuesday in a statement.
"Raytheon's Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System will ensure the Kingdom of Bahrain is well equipped to defense against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and manned and unmanned aircraft," said Ralph Acaba, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.
In May, the State Department endorsed Bahrain's interest in purchasing the system and other military equipment from the U.S. Army at an estimated cost of $2.47 billion, with options to purchase other material that would push the order past $6 billion.
Sixty Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles, 36 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles, nine M903 Launching Stations, and other missiles, bombs and munitions, purchased largely to protect Bahrain's fleet of F-16 fighter plane, were included when the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the FMS agreement.
Patriot is a long-range, all-altitude, all-weather air defense system to counter tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft. It is in use by the United States and 15 other countries. The system was first deployed by U.S. military forces in Kuwait during the 2003 conflict with Iraq, where it successfully destroyed a number of Iraqi surface-to-surface missiles.
In September 2018, the State Department also approved a proposed sale of over 800 tactical missiles to Bahrain.
That deal included Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Unitary Rocket Pods and Army Tactical Missiles System Unitary missiles at an estimated cost of $300 million. It came despite the Bahraini regime's crackdown, at the time, on pro-democracy campaigners and political dissidents in the country.