The Duqm Naval Dockyard, a joint venture of Oman Drydock Company (ODC) and the UK’s Babcock International, is expected to start formal operations in April.

ODC will maintain majority shareholding, at 51 per cent, with the rest to be owned by Babcock International.

Apart from transferring knowledge and technology to its local partner, Babcock is expected to invest in assets such as the under-construction modest-sized floating dock.

It was reported last year that the naval shipyard facility in Duqm will be provide support for the fleet of the Royal Navy of Oman, the Royal Oman Police Guard, the UK Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

The new entity is expected to boost the yard’s capability in attracting naval ships from British, European and other friendly international navies for repair and maintenance services in Oman.

Most GCC-states, led by the UAE, have been aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in terms of defence-related equipment and services. The UAE’s rigorous offset programme has been the most successful in terms of developing a local defence manufacturing and services sector.

While defence spending in the region, except for Qatar and Kuwait, fell last year, the growth in spending is expected to return in 2017 due to the ongoing conflicts across the region.

According to data from the US Defense Support Cooperation Agency (DCSA), an estimated $49bn-worth of foreign military sales to the Middle East region were approved between 2016 and the first quarter of 2017. Some of these sales have been approved by the US Congress, but the majority of them will still have to be reviewed and approved.

Approved US foreign military sales (FMS) to the Middle East and North Africa, 2016-17

Country

Article and services

Value ($m)

Kuwait

Sustainment and contractor logistics support for AH-64D Apache helicopters

400

Saudi Arabia

74K persistent threat detection system (PTDS) aerostats and related equipment, support, and training

525

Kuwait

AIM-120C-7 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles (AMRAAM)

110

Kuwait

Joint direct attack munition (JDAM) tail kits and related equipment and support

37

Kuwait

Recapitalisation of 218 M1A2 tanks and related equipment, support, and training

1,700

UAE

Apache AH-64E helicopters and services related equipment, training and support

3,500

Qatar

Continuation of logistics support services and equipment

700

Saudi Arabia

CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters and related equipment, training, and support

3,510

Qatar

F-15QA aircraft with weapons and related support, equipment, and training

21,100

Kuwait

F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft with support, equipment and training

10,100

UAE

Exercise participation support

75

Kuwait

Radar field systems and related equipment, training, and support

194

Egypt

Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) for AH-64E Apache, UH-60 Blackhawks, and CH-47 Chinook helicopters and related equipment, training, and support

81

Iraq

AC-208 aircraft and related equipment, training, and support.

65

Egypt

Sentinel AN/MPQ-64F1 Radars and related equipment, training, and support

70

Qatar

Mk-V Fast Patrol Boats, equipment, training, and support

124

Saudi Arabia

M1A2S Saudi Abrams main battle tanks and M88Al/A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation System (HERCULES) armoured recovery vehicles (ARV), equipment, training and support.

1,150

UAE

Munitions, sustainment, and support.

785

Iraq

AC-208 sustainment, logistics and spares support

181

Kuwait

F/A-18 C/D services and support

420

Qatar

Javelin Guided Missiles and associated equipment, training, and support

20

Oman

Logistics support services and equipment

260

Egypt

UGM-84L Harpoon Block II Encapsulated Missiles and equipment, training, and support

143

UAE

AGM-114 R/K Hellfire Category III Missiles and equipment, training, and support.

476

Tunisia

OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Aircraft equipment, training and support

101

Qatar

RIM-116C and RIM-116C-2 Rolling Airframe Missiles and associated equipment, training and support

260

UAE

AN/AAQ-24(V)N Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) equipment and logistics support

225

Iraq

KA-350 sustainment, logistics, and spares support

350

Jordan

Repair and return of F-16 Engines, sustainment and support.

115

Iraq

F-16 weapons, munitions, equipment and logistics support

1,950

Iraq

Hellfire missiles and Captive Air Training Missiles, related equipment and support

800

Oman

TOW 2B missiles, related equipment and support

51

Total

49,579

Source: US Defense Support Cooperation Agency