19:57 GMT05 April 2020
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    Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $1.5 billion foreign military sales contract to upgrade Patriot missile defense systems in the South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and the United Arab Emirates, the US Department of Defense said in a press release.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The contract also includes Patriot systems in the United States, the release noted on Thursday.

    "Production includes 205 missile segments for US and Qatar missiles; 58 cost reduction initiatives for US and Republic of Korea [South Korea] missiles; spare parts for the US, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia; and associated ground support equipment," the release stated.

    The Patriot is a defensive system that is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. It can also take out shorter range tactical missiles, cruise missiles, drones and advanced aircraft.

    Missile defense has taken on a high profile amid recent advances in rocket development by North Korea and Iran.

    Work on the Patriot contract is slated for completion in 2020.


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