Region fast tracks weapons orders

08 November 2015

Focus is on keeping air defence assets flying rather than in acquiring new platforms, says Boeing

  • Increased demand triggered by wars in Yemen and Syria
  • Boeing cites production issues related to major jump in demand
  • Other urgent new orders are for fighter helicopters

The US’ Boeing has been fast-tracking most GCC states’ existing orders for heavy weapons and ammunition over the past few months, according to Paul Oliver, a vice president for Boeing’s Defence, space and security division for the Middle East and Africa.

“The focus has been on weapons replenishment in line with enhancing their attack capabilities,” said Oliver in a press conference held on 7 November, a day ahead of the opening of the Dubai Airshow. “The focus is on keeping their military vehicles such as the Apache helicopters and ground attack vehicles flying and running, rather than in acquiring new platforms.”

Oliver attributed the accelerated demand for weapons and ammunitions from across the GCC states such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to the environment that has changed, more specifically the wars in Yemen, Syria and even Afghanistan.

In addition to the replenishment orders, Oliver cited urgent new orders for their Apache and Chinook helicopters across the region.

Every defence export sale made by a US company has to be approved by the State Department, while every sale worth in excess of $50m has to be approved by the US Congress.

However, more than the regulatory approvals, Oliver said their main concern at the moment has to do with production. This could only imply that the orders being made by the GCC states have jumped darmatically compared with previous years.

The GCC states have been building up their defence capacity over the past year. Kuwait is finalising a $9bn Eurofighter deal, while the US recently approved the sale of Lockheed Martin warships worth $11.25bn to Saudi Arabia.

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