MGM-164 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) manufactured by . Last week the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the U.S. Congress about the planned sale of 130 missiles carrying Unitary Warheads T2K ( ), equipping the two gulf states with medium range ballistic missile capability for the first time. The new warhead also offers improved penetration and optimized fragmentation coverage, thus reducing collateral damage.and are expecting to get more
According to the agency, the United Arab Emirates’ Army will get 100 ATACMS missiles while High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) in service.
will also order 60 ‘Low Cost Reduced Range Practice Rockets’ (LCRRPR) to support the training and demonstration of the new weapon’s capabilities. UAE is investing $140 million while Bahrain’s acquisition is expected to amount to $70 million, reflecting the proportionally higher cost of setup and support systems.
The UAE has initially requested acquiring tactical missile systems from the U.S. – in 2006, as the U.S. agency announced an intended sale of 20 HIMARS vehicles, 100 ATACMS missiles and 130 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (G) carrying Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM) and an equal number of ATACMS and G carrying unitary warheads. The total value of the 2006 package was $752 million. While the deal was never publicized, the U.S. is known to operate a training facility in the country to establish a the cadre for the HIMARS school training local crews in the operation of GMLRS and ATACMS. Bahrain is also operating HIMARS and ATACMS missiles for several years. The new acquisition will be able to replace those missiles carrying DPICM – as they are phase out of service, in compliance with the new international treaty banning the export and use of cluster munitions, which came into effect in 2009.
So the big question is – which tactical Missiles Lockheed Martin will be delivering to Taiwan, or – how the ATACMS order inflated from $140 to over $700 million?.
The new sales can also be considered part of the gulf states’ force modernization, expanding their existing architecture to counter major regional threats – namely an attack byian air power, ballistic missiles or naval forces. While could potentially devastate the gulf states’ air forces, the presence of highly mobile medium range missiles could provide these small states a ‘Second Strike’ potential, presenting a deterrent effect against an Iranian strike. The range of these missiles put strategic Iranian shoreline facilities at risk, including the port of Bandar Abas and the nuclear sites at Bushehr.