The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on January 23 that the State Department had approved a possible sale to Saudi Arabia of model 74K Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) aerostats and related equipment. The contract would carry an estimated value of $525 million.
In procurements of the PTDS by the U.S., the aerostat has been equipped with the Northrop Grumman ZPY-1 STARLite radar. Saudi Arabia’s request includes allowances for 14 ground moving target indicator (GMTI) radars, including four spares. Given typical procurement patterns, it is quite possible that Saudi Arabia will follow the U.S.’s lead and procure the STARLite as well. At an average price of $2.1 million per radar, the STARLite would account for approximately $29.4 million of the overall contract value.
Keep in mind that a radar selection has yet to be announced. Saudi Arabia could easily decide to procure another radar for the highly reconfigurable PTDS aerostat platform. At this time, any discussion of procurement of the ZPY-1 STARLite by Saudi Arabia is purely speculative.
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