The U.S. military is deploying 2,000 additional troops, three new antimissile systems, two squadrons of jet fighters and other equipment to Saudi Arabia in an accelerating U.S. buildup meant to counter Iranian hostilities in the region, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The move represents the largest of three rounds of U.S. military deployments to Saudi Arabia since July.
The Pentagon will deploy two Patriot surface-to-air missile batteries as well as a Terminal High Altitude Air Defense system, or Thaad, which provides broader air defenses against the ballistic missile threat for much of the region, officials said.
The additional 2,000 troops will join approximately 700 service members that had been deployed in previous rounds, including some to Prince Sultan Air Base, about 80 miles southeast of Riyadh.
Fahad Nazer, the spokesman for the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, welcomed the deployment. “Given the increasing brazenness of Iranian attacks and its continuing provocations, Saudi Arabia is working closely with its partners, including the United States, to bolster our defensive military capabilities,” Nazer said.
In addition to the troops, missile batteries and jet fighters, the Pentagon said it was deploying an air expeditionary wing, which can conduct both offensive and defensive air missions.