Oman signed a deal last week to buy 90 British-built armored personnel carriers (APCs) during a visit by Britain's Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon, the British embassy announced. A British spokesman told AFP the APCs, built by Alvis, would be a mixture of new models as well as vehicles to be refurbished in Oman. He gave no details on the value of the contract or delivery time.
"The purchase of the troop transports is part of the sultanate's efforts to improve the fighting capacity and modernize the Omani armed forces," which are already equipped with British Tornado fighters, the official news agency ONA said. The two countries also decided on joint maneuvers to be staged Oman in the second half of 2001, ONA said.
Hoon met Tuesday on the final day of a two-day visit with Oman's ministers in charge of defense and foreign affairs, Sayed Badr bin Saud al-Bussaidi and Yussef bin Alawi bin Abdullah, respectively, and then went into talks with Sultan Qaboos.
In May 1999, Oman's defense ministry announced it had chosen the British firm Alenia Marconi Systems for a new radar and pre-alert system and the modernization of Omani air force communications.
Oman, whose policy is to diversify its sources of military hardware, also signed arms deals with the French companies Matra and Panhard for a surface-to-air missile system and armored cars. — (AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)