* UAE will finalize $7bln missile deal this year
* Negotiations for THAAD defence system by Lockheed Martin
By Stanley Carvalho and Mahmoud Habboush
ABU DHABI, Feb 20 The United Arab Emirates will
finalise an estimated $7 billion deal to buy an advanced missile
defence system from Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) this spring, the
first such export by the U.S. firm, a Lockheed official said on
The UAE has been negotiating the acquisition of the Terminal
High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, since late 2008 when the
U.S. defence department announced the proposed sale.
"We are very close to finalising documentation necessary to
have a successful programme for the UAE. This spring, the U.S.
government will make an announcement," Dennis Cavin, vice
president, International Air & Missile Defence Strategic
Initiatives for Lockheed Martin told Reuters at a defence expo.
The deal was negotiated between the U.S. and the UAE
governments directly. The United States government is expected
to send a letter of agreement in the next few months, the
Lockheed official said, after which the UAE could start
negotiations with contractors on production schedules.
U.S. defence major Raytheon (RTN.N) will support Lockheed in
providing logistics and sustainment services.
UAE defence officials declined to comment on the deal. But
sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday the deal
was in its final stages and could be sealed soon.
Thaad is a key element of the Ballistic Missile Defence
System (BMDS) designed to defend troops, allied forces,
population centres and critical infrastructure. The weapon
system is fully integrated, comprising five major components -
launchers, interceptors, a radar, Thaad fire control and
communications and specific support equipment.
In late 2008, the UAE closed a deal with Lockheed Martin to
buy advanced Patriot anti-missile systems. The UAE has started
receiving the PAC-3, a Lockheed spokeswoman said on Sunday
The International Defence Exhibition &Conference (IDEX), the
region's largest military expo, opened on Sunday in the capital
of the United Arab Emirates with some 1060 companies
(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Mahmoud Habboush; editing
by Sophie Walker)