Saudi Arabia reportedly receive a discount from the U.S. to purchase the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.
On March 21, 2018, Bloomberg News reported in regards to U.S.-Saudi arms sales, “A $3.5 billion discount [Saudi Arabia] won from the Pentagon last year in buying an anti-missile system for $15 billion shows [Riyadh is] also adept at tapping into the Pentagon’s generosity.” The discount for the THAAD “was approved after the Saudis claimed the sale could be lost without it,” according to Bloomberg, which noted that the adjustment was not previously reported.
The Kingdom received two waivers for the proposed sale. The waivers were in regards to costs that go towards the development of the system.
The waivers granted to Saudi Arabia were the largest single waivers the U.S. has made, Bloomberg reported, citing a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.
The U.S. State Department announced the approval of the sale of THAAD in October 2017, estimating that the cost of 44 THAAD launchers, 360 missiles, 16 fire control mobile stations, and seven AN/TPY-2 radars would cost $15 billion. Also in October, Saudi Arabia and Russia announced they were negotiating over the latter’s S-400 air-defense system.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) told Bloomberg News in a statement, “We need to carefully evaluate all our military assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as we do with any country.” He added that he was planning on raising the subject with the Trump Administration, particularly as to why the waiver was provided “for such a wealthy country.”