Why did USA withdraw Patriot missile from Saudi Arabia?

The US decided to withdraw all three Patriot interceptors from Saudi Arabia in the middle of the war with Houthis.

Information quoted by The Wall Street Journal of US forces in the Middle East said that all three batteries of Patriot PAC 3 were ordered to withdraw from Saudi Arabia. The withdrawal procedure will start this month.

Along with that, an aircraft carrier being deployed in this area also received orders to leave another area. At the same time, the THAAD high-altitude interceptor system is also being considered for relocation to a more suitable location.

The reason for the withdrawal of weapons from the Middle East has been made quite clear by the United States, but according to The Wall Street Journal, this decision is partly related to the uselessness of the Patriot system when they are present in Saudi Arabia. deal with cheap UAV and cruise missile attacks from the Houthi forces in Yemen.“The withdrawal of the aforementioned weapons systems is part of the first phase of an effort to reduce the US military presence in the Middle East. Instead, Russia and a number of other forces will be the strategic focus. These weapons have to deal with “, US forces announced on 2/4 said. 

It is known that all three PAC 3 batteries were deployed by the US to Saudi Arabia in 2019 under the agreement reached between the US government and Riyadh.

At that time, along with the increase of the F-22 stealth fighter to the Middle East, the United States decided to send three powerful Patriot PAC-3 systems to Saudi Arabia to help the country patch the defenses after the oil plant was attacked in mid-September 2019.

All three US Patriot batteries sent to Saudi Arabia are the most powerful PAC-3MSE – the US version has just completed the test of the ability to destroy cruise missiles and ballistic missiles at the end of 2018. These are quite different features. Different from the Patriot system that Saudi Arabia bought from the US.

PAC-3MSE focuses on improving the intercept performance of ballistic targets, including enemy missiles, compared to the standard PAC-3 version to complete its mission.

In addition, the two-stage solid-fuel propulsion structure allows doubling the effective range of the interceptor missile. The new interceptor missile ammunition is also more compact, allowing an increase in interceptor missile ammunition on the platforms from 4 to 16.

In particular, the US-dispatched PAC-3MSE version offers 360-degree protection while maintaining maneuverability and reducing operating and maintenance costs by 50%. With the PAC-3MSE version, the US affirmed that dealing with ballistic and cruise missiles is not a difficult thing.

In order to receive the protection of the US PAC-3MSE systems, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz has previously signed a deal with US President Trump worth up to $ 350 billion, including arms contract. While Saudi paid 110 billion USD immediately after the deal was signed.

The $ 110 billion defense contract aimed at enhancing Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities has immediate effect. It is just one of a series of deals the two have signed to strengthen military and economic partnerships, including a second defense contract with projects worth up to $ 350 billion over the next 10 years.

“This has been a very wonderful day,” Trump said during that time.

Defense deals will create opportunities for American companies in the Middle East, and support tens of thousands of new defense jobs in the United States. These contracts will help the two countries address common threats more effectively, the White House statement said.

Included in the defense agreements, $ 6 billion was pledged for a Lockheed Martin Group project to assemble Blackhawk helicopters in Saudi Arabia. The project is expected to have the capacity to create 450 jobs in this country.

The defense deal package also includes multiple warships, tanks, missile defense systems, and cybersecurity technology. In addition, the US corporation General Electric said, it has signed many contracts worth $ 15 billion with Saudi organizations.

The contract was signed and the United States reaped huge profits, but what the Saudis got from the PAC-3MSE systems were missed or immobilized shots from Houthi attacks. 

The “uselessness” of this weapon is considered to be the reason the Saudis are not interested in their presence and makes the country negotiate to buy Russian air defense systems despite the threat of US sanctions.

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