WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Friday it was planning to send a large number of additional forces and equipment to Saudi Arabia, including air defenses and fighter aircraft.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said U.S. Defense Secretary Esper authorized the deployment of additional forces, including two fighter squadrons, two Patriot batteries, and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense System (THAAD).

“Secretary Esper informed Saudi Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Muhammad bin Salman this morning of the additional troop deployment to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia,” the statement said.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Tom Brown