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Saudi Arabia to buy S-400 air defense system from Russia

Saudi Arabia will buy the S-400 air defense system from Russia, and thus become the second US ally after Turkey to acquire it.The deal was reportedly reached on the sidelines of the visit by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Moscow.

A memorandum of understanding has been reportedly signed to help the kingdom develop its own defense industries.

The Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has already said Riyadh was showing interest in buying Russian missile systems.

“There is some interest, of course. Talks on S-400 are in progress, but there are no final decisions yet,” he said today, adding that confidential negotiations on military.

The countries also signed a memorandum of understanding to help the kingdom in its efforts to develop its own military industries, a statement from state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries said.

SAMI said the MoU with Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport came in the context of contracts signed to procure the S-400, the Kornet-EM system, the TOS-1A, the AGS-30 and the Kalashnikov AK-103.

It did not specify the number of each system or the value of the procurement deal.

It said the procurement was “based on the assurance of the Russian party to transfer the technology and localize the manufacturing and development of these armament systems in the Kingdom,” but provided no timeframe.

On the political front, there was no sign of any substantial breakthrough on the issues that divide Moscow and Riyadh, including the fact that they back rival sides in Syria’s civil war.

However, there was no sign of any public discord either. Briefing the media on the talks between Putin and King Salman, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov focused on the common ground between the two countries.

Lavrov said the two leaders had agreed on the importance of fighting terror, of finding peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Middle East, and on the principle of territorial integrity.

Saudi Arabia has purchased billions of dollars’ worth of anti-missile technology from the United States, including Patriot missiles, used to shoot down ballistic missiles fired by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen over the past several years.

The S-400 is Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system and can carry three types of warheads designed to destroy targets including ballistic and cruise missiles.

The system is able to simultaneously track and engage up to 300 targets to an altitude of 27 kilometers.

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