Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, won a $1.6 billion contract from the U.S. Army to supply Patriot missiles to governments in the Middle East and Asia.
The three-year agreement announced Thursday by the Pentagon calls for the Bethesda, Maryland-based company to furnish the missile systems, associated equipment and spares to the governments of Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, as well as those of South Korea and Taiwan.
The announcement didn't specify the type of interceptor system, though it's reportedly the Patriot Advanced Capability-3, or PAC-3, which is designed to target ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft in the terminal phase of flight.
Spokesmen for Lockheed didn't immediately return calls for comment.
The Pentagon's Defense Contract Management Agency had already alerted Congress to the potential for the sales, which signal continue demand for U.S. defense technology abroad.
The U.S. Army had a record year in 2014 for foreign military sales, with rising demand in the Middle East and elsewhere for such weapons systems as Apache attack helicopters, as well as Patriot and Javelin missiles.
In a so-called Foreign Military Sale, or FMS, the U.S. buys weapons or equipment on behalf of a foreign government. Countries approved to participate in the program may obtain military hardware or services by using their own funding or money provided through U.S.-sponsored assistance programs.
The United States Army Security Assistance Command in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 had a “significant increase” to 719 cases, or instances, of such sales worth a total of $21 billion, Gen. Dennis Via, the head of Army Materiel Command, said last fall.
Via singled out as popular weapons systems the AH-64 Apache gunship made by Boeing Co., the MIM-104 Patriot truck-mounted missile-defense system made by Raytheon Co., and the FGM-148 Javelin shoulder-launched missile system made by Raytheon and Lockheed.
“Our allies want U.S.-made equipment,” he said at the time. “They trust that equipment. They trust when we establish an FMS agreement with them that they’re going to see a quality product, they’re going to see the sustainment and training behind that product.”