First Saudi THAAD sites expected to be completed in 2026

by Jeremy Binnie

Saudi Arabia's future Terminal High Altitude Area Defense sites. (Janes)

The first four sites for Saudi Arabia's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems are expected to be completed by the end of 2026 and all seven by April 2028, according to a document released on 15 August by the US Army Corps of Engineers as part of a request for proposal (RFP).

The RFP was released to find a contractor to monitor construction projects in Saudi Arabia that were listed in the document. It gave the estimated completion date for a storage facility for THAAD ballistic missile interceptors at Al-Kharj in central Saudi Arabia as January 2025 and the first battery site at Ras al-Ghar on the kingdom's Gulf coast as February 2026. This will be followed by the battery sites at Yanbu and Taif in the west and King Khalid Military City (KKMC) in the north later that year.


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Japan weighs up Tomahawk missile procurement

by Jon Grevatt

A Tactical ‘Tomahawk' Block IV cruise missile conducts a controlled flight test over the Naval Air Systems Command's western test range complex in Southern California. (US Navy)

Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD) is considering the procurement of Tomahawk cruise missiles as part of its plan to bolster Japan Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) counterstrike capability.

The MoD indicated to Janes that a procurement of the Tomahawk is a possibility as it seeks to redefine the country's defence posture in the face of what is perceived in Tokyo as rapidly escalating regional threats.

Japan's Kyodo news agency, citing a Japanese government source, reported on 30 November that the MoD is considering the acquisition of “about 500” Tomahawk missiles from the United States government between 2023 and 2027.

A spokesperson for the MoD did not confirm these plans but said that decisions on the Tomahawk “are still under consideration”. The spokesperson added, “The MoD has not decided anything [in relation to] counterstrike capability.”


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US approves FS-LIDS counter-UAV system for Qatar

by Jeremy Binnie

A still from a video released by Raytheon shows a Coyote Block 2 being launched during tests at Yuma Proving Ground in August 2021. (Raytheon Technologies)

The US Department of State has approved the sale of counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems estimated to be worth USD1 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 29 November.

The approval covers 10 Fixed Site-Low, Slow, Small UAV Integrated Defeat Systems (FS-LIDS) and 200 Coyote Block 2 interceptors, as well as associated equipment and services.

The FS-LIDS is a ‘system of systems' developed by SRC Technology for the US Army and uses the company's AN/TPQ-50 counter-fire radar and electro-optic cameras to detect and track small UAVs. Targets can be engaged using an electronic warfare system or Coyote interceptors.

The Coyote was originally developed by Raytheon as a multi-purpose disposable UAV/loitering munition. The Block 2 has a small jet turbine engine, making it faster than the propellor-driven Block 1, and the original's fold-out wings were replaced with fixed ones along the side of its fuselage, making the new variant look more like a missile than a UAV.


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Europeans say Iranian satellite launcher could be intermediate-range ballistic missile

by Jeremy Binnie

An Iranian infographic says the Ghaem-100 satellite launch vehicle could be used to carry a nuclear warhead. (Iran Metropolis News Agency)

The Ghaem-100 satellite launch vehicle (SLV) that Iran unveiled on 5 November could be used as an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), the British, French, and German governments said in a joint letter to the United Nations Security Council.

“Modelling and simulation of the elements constituting the Ghaem-100 indicate that, if converted to a ballistic missile role and equipped with a 500 kg warhead, it would provide Iran with a rapid route to an intermediate-range ballistic missile,” they said in the letter, which was released on 29 November.

It did not give a specific figure, but IRBMs are generally classified as having ranges between 3,000 and 5,500 km, meaning one based on the Ghaem-100 would be able to reach Berlin and possibly cover all of Europe.

The letter noted that the Ghaem-100 was launched by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which includes Iran's strategic missile force, using a mobile launcher, and demonstrated an “extensive crossover of technologies with the development of long-range ballistic missiles”.


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The first four sites for Saudi Arabia's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) systems are expe...

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