U.S. military is developing plans to open a new testing facility in Saudi Arabia

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The U.S. military command responsible for the Middle East and Iran is developing plans to open a new military testing facility in Saudi Arabia, according to three U.S. defense officials familiar with the plans.

The facility will test new technologies to combat the growing threat from unmanned drones, and it will develop and test integrated air and missile defense capabilities. Early planning by Central Command, or CENTCOM, includes calling the facility the Red Sands Integrated Experimentation Center, drawing a parallel to the White Sands Missile Range, the U.S. military testing facility for extended-range missiles in New Mexico.

 

While the location has not yet been finalized, the officials said Saudi Arabia makes the most sense because it has large open spaces owned by the government and the ability to test various methods of electronic warfare, like signal-jamming and directed energy, without interfering with nearby population centers.