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MILPLEX
Combat aircraft top international arms sales: think tank

Taiwan hails US confirmation of attack helicopter deal
Taipei (AFP) Nov 10, 2010 - Taiwan on Wednesday welcomed the confirmation of its purchase of a fleet of advanced US attack helicopters, saying it would boost its defences even as it seeks improved ties with mainland China. The US Department of Defense announced Tuesday that defence contractor Boeing acquired the contract to sell 30 Apache AH-64D Longbow helicopters to Taiwan, and that it was required to deliver them in 2014. The deal "will certainly help beef up Taiwan's naval, anti-landing and ground-warfare capabilities," Defence Ministry spokesman Yu Sy Tue told AFP, adding that the deal was evidence of Taiwan's determination to defend itself. Ties between Taipei and Beijing have improved markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party was elected president in May 2008, promising to improve trade with and tourism from the mainland.

Beijing, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory, declines to renounce the use of force against the island, which has governed itself since the end of China's civil war in 1949. In response, Taiwan has built up a defence force equipped with weapons acquired mostly from the United States, despite Washington switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979. The Apache agreement was signed by the government of former US president George W. Bush in 2008 in a deal that also includes a simulation AH-64D for maintenance, repair and training purposes. In January, Washington announced a weapons package for Taiwan that includes Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters and equipment for Taiwan's F-16 fleet, but no submarines or new fighter aircraft. Beijing reacted angrily to that arms deal, saying it would cut military and security contacts with the United States.
by Staff Writers
Stockholm (AFP) Nov 10, 2010
Combat planes account for one third of all global arms transfers, with the United States topping the list of sellers and India, the United Arab Emirates and Israel the biggest buyers, according to the SIPRI think tank.

In a report published Wednesday, just a week before China opens its massive airshow in Zhuhai, the independent Swedish institute cautioned that increased sales of combat aircraft could have a destabilising effect in many parts of the world.

Between 2005 and 2009, according to the report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the United States had sold 341 fighter jets, up from 286 planes sold during the previous five-year period, while Russia sold 219 planes, down from 331, and France sold 75, up from 58.

Only 11 of the world's countries figure on the list of combat aircraft producers: the United States, Russia, China, France, Sweden, India and Japan on their own, and Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain as part of the Eurofighter consortium.

However, the list of buyers is far longer.

During the five-year period, more than 50 countries, including Algeria (32), Bangladesh (16), Israel (82), Jordan (36), Pakistan (23), Syria (33), Venezuela (24), Chile (28), Poland (48), China (45) and Yemen (37), purchased a total of 995 new and second-hand fighter planes.

Not to mention the producer countries themselves, with India buying most combat aircraft during the period with 115 planes and the United States purchasing 33.

On their own, India, the United Arab Emirates and Israel accounted for nearly a third of all fighter jet purchases, and SIPRI cautions, "many other importers of combat aircraft lie in regions of serious international tensions."

"While combat aircraft are often presented as one of the most important weapons needed for defence, these same aircraft give countries possessing them the potential to easily and with little warning strike deep into neighbouring countries," said Siemon Wezeman, a senior fellow at the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme and the author of the study.

Clear examples of this, according to SIPRI, were the Israeli air attack on Syria in September 2007 and the Russian air strike on Georgia in August 2008.

"Acquisitions of combat aircraft thus clearly can have a major destabilising effect on regions," Wezeman said.

Ironically, the report stressed, "while the transfer of ballistic and cruise missiles and their technology has been high on the arms control and export control agendas in part because of their capability to carry nuclear and other mass destruction weapons, the transfer of advanced combat aircraft and air-to-ground missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads is not."

For producer countries, the economic gains from the planes are significant: "the more advanced aircraft cost over 40 million dollars (29 million euros) each and often substantially more," according to SIPRI, adding however that the actual price of such a plane is difficult to estimate.

In fact, the Swedish institute quoted the September 16, 2009 edition of Jane's Defence Weekly showing that while Norway calculated it paid 54 million dollars for each of its American F35 fighters, the Pentagon estimates it pulled in 97 million dollars for the exact same planes.

In any case, "producers promote sales because they lead to substantial income and employment," said SIPRI.

For instance, the Eurofighter consortium cashed in between six and seven billion dollars by selling 72 planes to Saudi Arabia, while Australia paid the United States 4.8 billion for 24 F/A-18E planes and India dished out 1.5-1.6 billion dollars for 40 Russian Su-30MKI planes.

The astronomical sums help explain the cut-throat competition to win deals like Brasilia's long-running tender to buy 36 new fighter jets.

France's Rafale by Dassult, Sweden's Gripen NG by Saa, and the US-made F/A-18 Super Hornet by Boeing are all vying for the lucrative contract, estimated to be worth up to seven billion dollars.



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MILPLEX
Thales confirms 2010 targets after strong third quarter
Paris (AFP) Nov 9, 2010
French defence and aerospace group Thales said Tuesday its 2010 revenues should remain stable despite falling orders following a strong third quarter marked by a contract to supply 81 satellites. The company reported a five percent increase in revenue in the third quarter to 2.7 billion euros (3.73 billion dollars). For the first nine months of the year revenues were up four percent at ... read more







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