Procurement: November 27, 1999

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DASA (the German aerospace firm of Daimler-Chrysler) has made a surprising bid in the Persian Gulf, offering to loan or sell the UAE 30 used Alphajet trainers to satisfy the requirement for combat pilot training until the new Mako attack/trainer is ready. As part of the deal, the UAE would buy into the Mako project (which needs a major infusion of cash to get started) and gain access to its technology. This throws a monkey-wrench into British plans to sell the UAE 18 Hawk combat trainers. The British had considered that deal virtually complete, but the UAE suddenly balked at signing the final contract. (The Germans are also pushing their Polyphem fiber-optic guided missile to the UAE as an anti-ship and anti-tank weapon.) The German move has broader implications. The US has long considered its $7 billion deal to sell F-16C60 fighters to the UAE in the bag, but despite intense lobbying the Emirates have avoided actually signing a contract (despite having publicly selected the highly modified Falcon). Supposedly, cost and technical issues have delayed the deal, but the US is now worried that the Germans may be trying to slip Eurofighter in through the back door, citing its connections to Mako. The US Congress has already approved selling the UAE the weapons (AMRAAM, Sidewinder, HARM, Maverick, Harpoon, and laser-guided bombs) that would be part of the F-16C60 package. Lockheed Martin wants the UAE contract to launch the highly evolved F-16C60 program (with its conformal fuel tanks and scanning radar) so that it can then offer the aircraft in direct competition with Eurofighter. --Stephen V Cole


Northrop Grumman is trying to sell its JSTARS ground surveillance radar plane to the Gulf Arabs, and Raytheon is pushing its ASTOR design (which the British have just selected).--Stephen V Cole

Turkey says it will cancel its planned order for Norwegian helicopter- launched Penguin anti-ship missiles. The Norwegians have refused to allow the export of the missiles until Turkey improves its human rights record; the Turks insist that their record is already acceptable.--Stephen V Cole

Britain was embarrassed when a parliamentary report noted that it had made several arms sales to countries other EU nations had rejected because of the EU Code of Conduct. British arms sales have dropped by 33% over the last two years. Some of the sales they have made include Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. Indonesia used Hawk attack trainers to intimidate pro-independence civilians on East Timor.--Stephen V Cole

 


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