Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Emirates boost U.K. arms drive -- sort of
by Staff Writers
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UPI) Nov 9, 2012

British Prime Minister David Cameron's frantic drive to sell BAE Systems' Eurofighter Typhoon jet to London's peeved Persian Gulf allies got a boost of sorts this week from the United Arab Emirates, which is looking for 60 combat aircraft.

Cameron and the Emirates' leader said in a joint communique that they would "establish a defense industrial partnership that involved close collaboration around Typhoon."

But, as far as known, the leaders of the seven-state gulf federation, one of the world's top oil producers, made no firm order.

Still, observed defense analyst Rob Hewson of IHS Jane's in London, "it is a definite statement of interest from a strategic customer who has the means and the intent to purchase jet fighters."

Even so, the French Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation apparently is still in the running for a potential $4.8 billion contract.

Cameron spent three days in the gulf this week hustling business for the Typhoon amid fears potential contracts among the United Kingdom's longtime allies have been jeopardized by a growing clamor in Britain against selling arms to Arab monarchies battling to block the drive for democratic reform sweeping the Arab world.

The Emirates has been looking for 60 advanced strike jets for several years to replace its fleet of aging Dassault Mirage 2000s it bought two decades ago.

The French -- led by Nicolas Sarkozy when he was president and now by his successor, Francois Hollande, who was hustling in the gulf himself in October -- have long been in the running.

Aviation industry analysts say the agile multi-role Rafale, flown by the French air force and navy, is still a contender despite the endless negotiations that have taken place on the Emirates' contract.

Cameron's sales drive was undoubtedly undercut after the delta-winged Rafale beat Eurofighter to secure a $20 billion order for the Indian air force for 126 strike jets in December 2011.

The Eurofighter had looked like a sure thing. But Rafale put in the lowest bid and edged the twin-engined Typhoon, built by a consortium of BAE, Italy's Finmeccanica, and the German and Spanish arms of European aerospace giant EADS.

New Delhi's buy made sense inasmuch as the Rafale is logistically similar to India's fleet of Dassault Mirage 2000, which the Rafale will replace.

The Emirates, too, has Mirage 2000s, bought from France two decades ago, and the logistics element could give Dassault the edge again in Abu Dhabi.

BAE, Britain's biggest defense contractor, needs some big sales in the gulf to make up for the recent collapse of a proposed merger with EADS to form a European aerospace and defense giant to rival the Boeing Co. of the United States, and the lost Indian deal.

Indeed, it was the failure to win the Indian contract that was one of the main reasons behind BAE's move to chase the proposed $45 billion merger with EADS that was ultimately blocked by Germany for political reasons.

"Though the Emirates tender would not be as big as the one for India, it comes at a critical time for BAE and the U.K.," the Financial Times observed.

"BAE has been closing factories and slashing thousands of highly skilled jobs in the U.K. as the Ministry of Defense has cut spending."

A lot is riding on the Emirates and with Saudi Arabia, which Cameron seeks to sell 72 Typhoons to add to the 72 it bought in 2009 for $8.6 billion.

Despite a big huddle with Saudi leaders in Riyadh, there's been no indication a new contract's in the offing.

Oman, a former British protectorate on the southwestern top of the Arabian Peninsula strategically overlooking the choke point Strait of Hormuz, is reported to be interested in buying 12 of the jets.

Saudi Arabia and Austria are the only countries to have bought the Typhoon.

Even the countries that build the jet -- Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom -- have been reducing their orders because of hefty defense cutbacks.

But the political developments that led to Cameron's surprise visit to the gulf, which started Monday, would suggest that the British prime minister, facing multiple problems at home and growing ire from gulf leaders, is, to use a cricketing metaphor, "batting on a sticky wicket."


Related Links
The Military Industrial Complex at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Lockheed Martin and IERUS Technologies Partner Under DoD Mentor-Protege Program
Huntsville, AL (SPX) Nov 08, 2012
Lockheed Martin and IERUS Technologies have announced that they have signed a three-year agreement under the Department of Defense (DoD) Mentor-Protege Program. The Mentor-Protege Program encourages prime contractors to serve as mentors in developing the technical and business capabilities of small businesses. Through this program, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company will assist IERUS Te ... read more

Moon crater yields impact clues

Study: Moon basin formed by giant impact

NASA's LADEE Spacecraft Gets Final Science Instrument Installed

Astrium presents results of its study into automatic landing near the Moon's south pole

More Driving And Imaging At 'Matijevic Hill'

Curiosity Team Switches Back to Earth Time

Survey of 'Matijevic Hill' Continues

Mars Longevity Champ Switching Computers

Obama Win Keeps NASA's Space Plans on Course

Next steps into the final frontier

CSA: Canada finds its space in space

Clarkson Professor Co-writes Book Promoting Space Exploration

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

Crew Prepares for Spacewalk After Progress Docks

Crew Preparing for Cargo Ship, Spacewalk

Russian cargo ship docks with ISS: official

Packed Week Ahead for Six-Member Crew

Ariane 5 is poised for Arianespace's launch with the EUTELSAT 21B and Star One C3 satellites

Ariane 5 orbits EUTELSAT 21B and Star One C3 satellites

Arianespace's heavy-lift Ariane 5 flight is cleared for liftoff with EUTELSAT 21B and Star One C3

NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building Prepared for Multiple Rockets

Discovery of a Giant Gap in the Disk of a Sun-like Star May Indicate Multiple Planets

New habitable zone super-Earth found in exosolar system

Cosmic sprinklers explained in active planetary nebula

Nearby six-planet system could be life friendly

India unveils new version of 'world's cheapest tablet'

Buzz building for debut of Wii U videogame console

NASA tests 'interplanetary Internet'

Atmospheric CO2 risks increasing space junk: study

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement