The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress (link opens a PDF) Monday of plans to sell the government of Qatar an A/N FPS-132 Block 5 Early Warning Radar system, plus necessary equipment, parts, training, and logistical support. If this sale is approved, it could be worth as much as $1.1 billion to its principal contractor, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN).
DSCA is of the opinion that this sale "will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East." As the agency explained: "The acquisition of this air defense system would provide a permanent defensive capability to the Qatar Peninsula as well as protection of the economic infrastructure and well-being of Qatar."
DSCA further reassured Congress that "there will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale." Actually, to the contrary.
Of crucial importance, although not reference explicitly in DSCA's notification, is that the U.S. currently maintains at least two operating military bases in the country: the Al Udeid Air Base, and Assaliyah Army Base -- said to be staffed with up to 5,000 U.S. military personnel. Sale of the EWR system would therefore benefit the U.S. military, just as much as it would the Qataris.
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