Arms exporters seek deals at Mideast’s largest defence show

Arms exporters seek deals at Mideast’s largest defence show

1,200 firms from 55 countries to showcase latest military wares, technologies

By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 20 Feb 2015, 10:29 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 11:57 PM

Abu Dhabi — International firms will scramble for new orders at the Middle East’s largest arms show which opens in Abu Dhabi next week.

The Middle East is the largest market driver in the industry with billions of dollars spent annually on buying military equipment, from drones and jet fighters to guided missiles.

Around 1,200 companies from 55 countries are showcasing their latest military wares and technologies at the biennial International Defence Exhibition (Idex), starting on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.

The market is likely to see a shift in its arms purchases as countries seek more counter-terrorism capabilities.
“There is a rethinking in the military strategy in the region for the next five to 10 years from now due to such threats,” said Mustafa Alani, director of security and defence at Gulf Research Centre.

Many countries are investing in equipment for special operations forces and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to deal with the new threats, he said.

For the first time, a dedicated exhibition of unmanned systems with 33 exhibitors is being launched at Idex.
Idex exhibitors include major defence firms from the United States, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Raytheon to Europe’s BAE Systems, Thales, Dassault Aviation and Finmeccanica.

According to latest data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, defence spending in the Middle East rose four per cent in real terms in 2013 and 56 per cent between 2004 and 2013, to hit an estimated $150 billion two years ago.

Earlier this month, Egypt agreed to buy 24 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault Aviation — the first foreign order for the aircraft and which could spark a flurry of new orders. The Eurofighter and F-18 are competing for a possible Kuwaiti deal for 28 jets. Oman is also in talks to buy planes.

Regional states are also looking to buy helicopters, tanks, drones and ammunition to beef up security. A number of military deals are expected to be signed during Idex, organisers said.

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