US approves sale of advanced missiles to Gulf ally Kuwait

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration has approved a $3 billion sale of advanced medium-range missiles to Kuwait to help the tiny oil-rich Gulf country defend itself.

The State Department notified Congress on Thursday of the planned sale, which comes amid heightened tensions in the region that many blame on Iranian proxies, notably in Iraq, Kuwait’s northern neighbor.

The package includes 63 medium range air-to-air missiles, 63 extended-range surface-to-air missiles and 63 tactical missiles along with associated equipment such as radar and communications systems.

The administration said the sale would support U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives while bolstering Kuwait’s defense capabilities.

“The proposed sale will improve Kuwait’s capability to meet current and future threats by enhancing the ability to defend itself against regional malign actors and improve interoperability with systems operated by U.S. forces and other Gulf countries,” the department said in a statement.

It noted that in addition to protecting its own energy infrastructure Kuwait hosts more than 4,000 American military personnel and civilian workers. The U.S. said the sale would not alter the military balance in the region.