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The GCC countries, especially Saudi and the UAE, have been spending huge amounts on buying defense equipment, and according to analysts, the spending spree could continue.
December 17, 2009 1:11 by Aarti Nagraj
During the Dubai Airshow in November this year, the UAE’s armed forces signed a $223 million deal with Swedish company Saab for two 340 Early Warning Aircraft. The contract includes buying the aircraft and associated systems, and providing air crew training, maintenance and repair services.
The Saab deal met the army’s “interim” operational requirements, officials said, adding that it was a precursor for further defense orders.
The UAE also signed a $511 million contract with Swiss company Pilatus to buy 25 basic training PC-21 aircraft. The contract also covers numerous training simulators with all systems and services to train and qualify pilots.
“These aircraft will be used for basic and combat operational training which will help train pilots in modern systems, such as navigation, radar, early warning, night vision, thermal cameras and data link systems,” said Staff Major General Pilot Faris Mohammed Al Mazrouei, chief of Logistics Staff, UAE GHQ Armed Forces. “They will also help in training them in launching munitions, bombs, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.”
But it’s not just Saudi Arabia and the UAE; according to a recent study by global consultancy Frost & Sullivan, defense spending in the Middle East is expected to reach $100 billion by 2014. The main chunk of the spending is expected to come from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Israel, the study says.