Gulf sales trigger US defense sales record
16 US Air Force Thunderbirds fly in formation over Hudson river in New York. Oman has bought 18 such F-16 fighter jets for $1.4 billion.
The U.S. defense industry is benefiting from the tensions in the Persian Gulf, mainly because of the nuclear disputes between Iran and the West, as the superpower tripled its arms sales to $66.3 billion in 2011 with the help of orders from the region.
The annual defense sales of the U.S. make up more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011, The New York Times wrote yesterday, citing a Congressional Research Service report.
Russia followed it with $4.8 billion of deals.
These Gulf states – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman – do not share a border with Iran, and their arms purchases focused on expensive warplanes and complex missile defense systems.
The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet.
Sales to Saudi Arabia last year also included dozens of Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal with the United States of $33.4 billion, according to the study.
The United Arab Emirates purchased a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced antimissile shield that includes radars and is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.
Oman bought 18 F-16 fighters for $1.4 billion.
Most of the weapons purchases, worth about $71.5 billion, were made by developing nations, with about $56.3 billion of that from the United States.
Turkey is also developing its defense industry ties with the Gulf countries and the Arab world in general terms but it is very moderate when compared with the world’s largest defense exporter.
Turkish defense firms have participated in eight international fairs and visited six countries so far this year, and officials have said they raised revenues through deals with Arab countries in the Persian Gulf.
The Turkish Undersecretariat of Defense Industry plans to participate in at least eight international defense and security fairs next year to increase its exports volume, with a rich selection of products to offer, including high-technology military supplies
The most important defense fair next year will be the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF), which will take place in Istanbul.