US Approves Another Big Patriot Missile Sale to Eastern Europe

Patriot air defense missile systems during Exercise Patriot Shock in Capu Midia, Romania on November 4, 2016. The weeklong exercise was designed to test the deployment readiness and joint interoperability. Image: DoD/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball
Patriot air defense missile systems during Exercise Patriot Shock in Capu Midia, Romania on November 4, 2016. The weeklong exercise was designed to test the deployment readiness and joint interoperability. Image: DoD/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

The State Department has given tentative approval to the $3.9 billion sale of Patriot missile systems to Romania, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said Tuesday. Russia has strongly opposed the sale.

The deal with Romania follows a proposed $8 billion sale of Patriot missile systems to Poland announced during President Donald Trump's visit to Warsaw last week.

DSCA said in a statement that the prime contractors for the sale to Romania will be Raytheon Corp. in Andover, Mass., and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas. The surface-to-air Patriot missile system was designed for defense against enemy aircraft and missiles.

DSCA said Romania asked for seven Patriot Configuration-3 missile systems, plus Modernized Fire Units and related support and equipment.

The related equipment consists of seven AN/MPQ-65 radar sets; seven AN/MSQ-132 engagement control stations; 13 antenna mast groups; 28 M903 launching stations; 56 Patriot MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) missiles; 168 Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) missiles; and seven Electrical Power Plants.

In its statement, DSCA downplayed Moscow's opposition to missile and aircraft defense enhancement measures for NATO allies in Europe. "The proposed sale of these missiles and equipment will not alter the basic military balance in the region," it said.

"Romania will use the Patriot missile system to strengthen its homeland defense and deter regional threats," DSCA said. "The proposed sale will increase the defensive capabilities of the Romanian military to guard against aggression and shield the NATO allies who often train and operate within Romania's borders. Romania should have no difficulty absorbing this system into its armed forces."

In Warsaw last week, the U.S. and Poland signed a memorandum of understanding for an $8 billion proposed sale of Patriot systems.

Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said, "A memorandum was signed tonight that the U.S. government has agreed to sell Poland Patriot missiles in the most modern configuration. I am glad that I can pass on this information on the day of President's Trump visit to Warsaw."

Russian President Vladimir Putin on several occasions has called the deployment of defensive missile systems by NATO allies a "great danger" and has threatened to enhance Russia's missile systems in response.

The U.S. has previously sold Patriot systems to Taiwan, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Spain.

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