The United Arab Emirates said Thursday, March 22, it would buy four maritime surveillance planes worth $140 million in total from the European Aeronautical, Defense and Space (EADS) company.
The sale brought a close to the fifth IDEX-2001 arms fair, bringing total contract revenues generated by the fair to $160 million. Despite the UAE's last-minute deal, sales fell short of the last IDEX fair in 1999, when around $180 million worth of contracts were inked.
"The Emirati air force has made its choice of EADS for the purchase of four CASA type planes, equipped with radar, for maritime surveillance," said General Obaid Al-Katbi, spokesman for the IDEX-2001 arms fair.
According to air industry sources in Abu Dhabi, the UAE had selected the C-295 CASA model, a turbo-engine and propeller-equipped plane with radar and telecommunications systems. Set up in July 2000, the EADS group includes France's Aerospatiale Matra, Germany's DASA, and Spain's CASA.
Katbi said the UAE navy also signed a contract with the Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding Company for the construction of six missile-equipped gunboats in partnership with a French construction firm Mechaniques de Normandie. No numbers were available on the contract's value.
Katbi added that the Emirati army had signed deals with local companies to construct 300 light military vehicles, at an estimated value of $11 million. A three million-dollar contract was also signed between the army and the Norwegian firm Kongesberg to upgrade the army's microwave telecommunications systems, Katbi said.
On Tuesday, Jordan and the UAE signed a deal worth between $25 to $40 million to build 1,500 troop transport vehicles. Jordanian Prince Faisal Bin Hussein, brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II, indicated during a visit to the fair that the vehicles — identified as the "Tiger" model — would be built over the next two to three years.
Since the end of the 1991 Gulf War, the Gulf monarchies — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE — have spent more than $60 billion on arms, mostly bought from Britain, France and the United States.
The Gulf states established an early-warning defense shield of radar and telecommunications systems in February.
The fifth IDEX arms fair opened Sunday in Abu Dhabi and drew 860 producers from 42 countries to battle for orders from the wealthy Gulf Arab countries. — (AFP, Abu Dhabi)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)