US State Department Approves Sale Of MIDS-LVT Block Upgrade 2 To Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia

The U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) and related equipment for an estimated cost of $23.7 million. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested to buy thirty-one (31) Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) Block Upgrade 2 (BU2), that will be added to a previously implemented case. The original FMS case, valued at $3.0 million, included eleven (11) Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) Block Upgrade 1 (BU1). The proposed sale will provide the Saudi armed forces with the equipment, training, and follow-on support necessary to protect Saudi Arabia, countering Iranian influence, and other threats.

Therefore, this notification is for a total of eleven (11) Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) Block Upgrade 1 (BU1) and thirty-one (31) Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) Block Upgrade 2 (BU2). Also included is communications equipment; support equipment; engineering and technical support and assistance; training; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The proposed MIDS-LVT (BU2) terminals will be installed on Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) platforms, while the previously provided MIDS-LVT (BU1) terminals were installed on PATRIOT. Saudi Arabia will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. Implementation of this sale will not require the assignment of any U.S. Government or contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia.

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HEMTT-based M1075 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Missile Launcher.
HEMTT-based M1075 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Missile Launcher.

Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) is the NATO name for the communication component of Link-16. MID is an advanced command, control, communications, computing and intelligence (C4I) system incorporating high-capacity, jam-resistant, digital communication links for exchange of near real-time tactical information, including both data and voice, among air, ground, and sea elements. MIDS is intended to support key theater functions such as surveillance, identification, air control, weapons engagement coordination and direction for all Services. One commonly used instance of an MIDS is the MIDS Low Volume Terminal (MIDS-LVT) which has been funded by the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain and developed by MIDSCO, a joint venture by Thomson CSF, GEC, Siemens, Italtel, and Enosa.

On 6 October 2017, the US reached a deal to provide Saudi Arabia with THAAD in a deal worth $15 billion. Seven fire units each with a Raytheon AN/TPY-2 radar, two mobile tactical stations (with two spares for a total of 16), and six launchers (with two spares for a total of 44), 360 interceptor missiles. The U.S. Defense Department announced March 4 2019, that it recently awarded Lockheed Martin a nearly $1 billion contract to begin work on a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) ballistic missile defense package for Saudi Arabia. The United States was under political pressure to reduce defense cooperation with Saudi Arabia following the October 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a commentator for The Washington Post, and amid concerns about U.S. support for Saudi military actions in Yemen.

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