“Iran threat continues driving Middle East defense spending”

“Iran threat continues driving Middle East defense spending”
August 25 & 26, 2009
     US think tank Frost & Sullivan expects defense expenditure in the Middle East to exceed $100 billion over the next 5 years, largely due to concern over Iran’s nuclear program and regional ambitions. Much of the spending will involve packages of US weapons systems announced by the US in 2008 to counter Iran. Saudi Arabia and the UAE hope to strengthen their air power while also purchasing missile defense systems, with the UAE becoming the first foreign customer for the US Theater High Altitude Air Defense System. Israel is hoping to purchase a squadron of F-35 stealth fighter aircraft and 2 new missile ships. Critics believe the arms deals will encourage Iran to increase its militarization [previously covered here] (United Press International).
     In an interview, Martin Bennett, an executive at British defense firm BAE Systems, states that the company is “quite bullish” over prospects for defense spending in the Middle East. Bennett believes spending is currently at a peak that will last a “couple of years more” while Middle East states enhance their air-defense capabilities, and he predicts naval spending will rise as states seek to replace old equipment. Bennett also suggests that the growing UAE market may lead BAE to set up production facilities in that country (Khaleej Times).
United Press International | Khaleej Times

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