Raytheon to sell missiles to UAE

AMRAAM Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) launched from an F-16 fighter. Raytheon photo

DUBAI (BNS): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is buying 224 advanced version missiles from Raytheon Company for its F-16 Block 60 fighter aircraft. An announcement to this effect was made by PT Mikolashek, president of Raytheon Middle East & North Africa, at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) that was opened by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center.

An official of Raytheon said that the UAE and the US government have executed a letter of offer and acceptance for the purchase of Raytheon's AIM-120 C-7 missiles, equipping the UAE with the most advanced version of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air missile (AMRAAM). “The value of the deal is sizeable and deliveries will start mid to late 2011,” Mikolashek said. He, however, declined to state the value of the deal.

“The Middle East market, including the Gulf, remains very viable and credible. There is confidence in their ability to drive on their acquisition schemes,” Mikolashek said.

In the beginning of this month, Raytheon announced a $246 million contract for the UAE to provide spare parts for the new Patriot systems that the company is building. Raytheon is also developing a laser-guided rocket programme for the UAE, the official said.

John Ward, vice-president at Lockheed Martin said that security needs are still important to them as much as the global downturn. “We have not seen any slowdown in any of the projects in this region that we are working on,” Ward noted.

In December 2008, the UAE became Lockheed's first Middle Eastern customer and the fourth international customer for the PAC-3 Missile after a deal was finalised. Lockheed expects in excess of $1.8 billion in PAC-3 Missile-related business over the life of the initial UAE programme, Ward said.

A record 897 companies from 50 countries and over 150 official delegations from around the world are participating in the ninth edition of IDEX 2009. The exhibition which will run till Thursday is expected to attract more than 45,000 visitors, including top defence officials from various countries of the world.

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