Tags: Iran | Middle East | Trump Administration | saudi arabia | defense | system | raytheon

WashPost: US Defense System Might Have Failed Saudi Arabia

the raytheon headquarters in woburn, massachusetts
(Elise Amendola/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 September 2019 08:57 PM

The attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities over the weekend left some observers questioning the effectiveness of the six missile defense systems used by Riyadh and produced by U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, reports The Washington Post.

Fifty percent of Saudi Arabia's oil production was halted due to fires that broke out after attacks by as many as 10 aerial drones, sending Brent Crude soaring. The Trump administration and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have blamed Iran, and U.S. officials Tuesday shared intelligence with Saudi Arabia of their assessment that Tehran launched more than 20 drones and at least a dozen missiles at the facilities on Saturday.

Riyadh in recent years has spent billions of dollars building up the defense systems of U.S.-made Patriot missiles and associated radars. The strikes that badly damaged the key Saudi facility largely remain a mystery, though some reports suggest drones and cruise missiles – which are harder to detect by radar because they fly close to the ground – appear to have launched from different locations.

"The defended area for a Patriot battery is relatively small," said Thomas Karako, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "There are real limits, even if you have a ton of Patriots, on what you can defend."

Theodore Postol, an MIT physicist and prominent critic of U.S. missile defense, told The National Interest the defense system was "nothing but an unbroken trail of disasters with this weapon system."

Tyler Rogoway, the editor of Time Inc.'s "The War Zone," wrote Tuesday that defense systems have major limitations.

"Here's a cold hard reality that most people just don't understand, including many defense-sector pundits — air defense systems, no matter how advanced and deeply integrated, aren't magic," he said. "They have major limitations, especially considering most primarily rely on ground-based sensors."

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Observers question the effectiveness of the six missile defense systems used by Riyadh and produced by U.S. defense contractor Raytheon after the attack on Saudi Arabia's oil facilities over the weekend, according to The Washington Post.
saudi arabia, defense, system, raytheon, missile
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2019-57-17
Tuesday, 17 September 2019 08:57 PM
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