Pentagon green-lights Raytheon's $1.1 billion missile contract to Saudi Arabia

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After recently scoring defense contracts with the Pentagon, Raytheon has been approved to sell missiles to Saudi Arabia.

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Copyright 2014 Reuters
Copyright 2014 Reuters

The Pentagon agency that oversees foreign military sales has approved Raytheon contracts to Saudi Arabia for $1.1 billion to sell 15,000 anti-tank missiles. A Pentagon report said the missiles will be used for Saudi's national defense, but analysts speculated it was for Syrian rebels.

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency informed Raytheon in October that it will award it a $3 billion, 3-year contract to manufacture up to 216 Standard Missile-3 SM-3 Block IB missiles beginning in 2015. Raytheon will be awarded the contract once funds are appropriated.

Under a different contract, finalized Oct. 11, Raytheon is set to build next-generation integrated air and missile defense radar for the Navy's Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyers in 2016. According to Raytheon, the initial contract is worth more than $380 million, but may be worth up to $1.6 billion if certain options are exercised.

"Raytheon has once again secured business in a new area at a time when rivals are seeing their revenues decline… It's nearly impossible to grow market share in a defense downturn, and Raytheon is managing to do it." Loren Thompson, defense analyst at the Lexington Institute in Washington

During the summer of 2013, Raytheon was able to secure another Navy contract — which could also be worth billions of dollars — to develop electronic jamming systems for fighter jets.

Raytheon had sales worth $24 billion in 2012, with about 68,000 employees worldwide. Because the money for the summer contract was appropriated before the government shutdown, the contract is not affected by the shutdown.

Software designed to prevent the type of leaks that Edward Snowden carried out was not installed on the network at the Hawaii facility where he worked, according to Reuters. The software developed by defense contractor Raytheon was designed to spot unauthorized access or downloads of classified data.

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