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The U.S. military is reportedly in the planning stages for a new testing facility in Saudi Arabia.
According to NBC News, three defense officials told the outlet that the site is being planned by Central Command (CENTCOM) for developing new technology for combating drones, as well as testing air and missile defenses. Saudi Arabia, the officials said, is a desirable location due to its large swaths of government-owned land that would allow the military to test various types of technology without interfering with local populations. Additionally, its location in the Middle East provides geographic desirability.
“With the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the center of gravity for many future regional security endeavors, this is an opportunity,” one official told NBC News.
Fox News reached out to the Pentagon, but they did not immediately respond.
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The new facility is currently called the Red Sands Integrated Experimentation Center. An existing facility in New Mexico used for extended-range missile testing is called the White Sands Missile Range. CENTCOM commander Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla reportedly had the idea for the new site when meeting with Middle Eastern allies in August.
“There was overwhelming support,” an official told NBC.
Two defense officials told the outlet that the U.S. would probably provide 20% of the funding for the facility and a similar share of the personnel. Allies would provide the rest. The officials said it is unlikely that it would open before the end of this year.
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The news comes roughly two months after President Biden visited Saudi Arabia on a Middle Eastern trip. While there, Biden said the United States “is going to remain an active partner in the Middle East.” Weeks later, the State Department approved a potential sale of 300 Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia for roughly $3.05 billion to help the Arab nation defend against Houthi drone and missile attacks.
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It also comes at a time when threats from Iran have Middle Eastern nations concerned and working together. Israel and several Arab nations have increased security cooperation, which former Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon told Fox News could expand to military cooperation if the U.S. enters into a nuclear deal with Iran that they fear is not strong enough.
Soruce : https://www.foxnews.com/politics/us-planning-military-testing-site-saudia-arabia-report