(2nd LD) LIG Nex1 bags US$3.2 bln missile interceptor deal with Saudi Arabia

SEOUL, South Korean defense firm LIG Nex1 has clinched a US$3.2 billion deal to export mid-range surface-air-to missiles (M-SAM II) to Saudi Arabia, Seoul's defense ministry said Tuesday. LIG Nex1 inked the contract with the Saudi defense ministry to sell Cheongung M-SAM II in November, the ministry said. It marks LIG Nex1's second overseas sales of Cheongung-II following a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in January 2022. The hit-to-kill missile system is capable of intercepting incoming missiles at an altitude of about 40 kilometers to protect vital facilities from artillery and aircraft threats. The details of the contract were disclosed after the defense ministers of the two nations held talks in Riyadh on Sunday (local time) to boost arms industry ties on the sidelines of the World Defense Show. On the margins the defense exhibition, South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and the Saudi defense ministry signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to pave the way for c ooperation in the defense industry and joint weapons development. Under the MOU, the two sides will launch a bilateral committee to jointly conduct research and development of weapons systems for continued cooperation in the defense industry, DAPA said. Defense Minister Shin Won-sik has made a three-nation trip to the Middle East since Thursday, which has taken him to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. He wraps up the weeklong trip Tuesday. Source: Yonhap News Agency