US defence contractor Raytheon has won a $42.8m deal to train Afghan air force pilots in the Middle East, its first such contract in the region.

The company is also in talks with Pakistan to train pilots, says Kevin Massengill, Raytheon’s vice-president for Middle East and North Africa.

“We have signed the contract and will do the training in an Arab Gulf country,” said Massengill during Abu Dhabi’s IDEX defence exhibition. The name of the country was not revealed.

The training programme will last for a couple of months. In January 2011, Raytheon won a $145m contract to provide Patriot Guidance Enhanced Missiles for Kuwait (MEED 27:1:11).

Raytheon is also planning to sell $4bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia as the kingdom tries to shore up its defences.