Italian tech firm wins $221m Oman deal

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A unit of Italy-based Finmeccanica has announced the signing of a EUR170m ($221m) contract for the supply of components, systems and services for Oman's Eurofighter aircraft.

Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica subsidiary, said it has signed the contract with Eurofighter relating to the 12 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft ordered by Oman in December.

The contract includes services and other activities to be provided by Alenia Aermacchi as well as an initial five-year logistics support package requested by the Royal Air Force of Oman.

Alenia will start producing the components for Oman's Eurofighters in 2014 and the first complete aircraft will be delivered to the Royal Air Force of Oman in 2017, the company said in a statement.

This order brings the overall number of Eurofighter ordered to date to 719 - 517 of which have been contracted, by Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Austria and Oman.

Since entry-into-service in 2004, the over 350 aircraft delivered to 20 operational units of six Air Forces accumulated more than 160,000 flying hours.

The Middle East region accelerated spending by 8.3 percent over the course of 2012 despite an overall slowdown in global military expenditure last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Oman increased its expenditure by 51 percent in 2012, the largest hike posted by any country while Kuwait’s defence budget increased by 10 percent.

In Saudi Arabia, spending rose by 12 percent. The Stockholm agency put the kingdom’s military expenditure at $56.7bn last year, and estimated that spending had risen by 111 percent over the last decade. It is the world’s seventh biggest spender in military terms, with 3.6 percent of global expenditure.

SIPRI said that the total figure for the Middle East was uncertain due to a lack of data from the UAE, Qatar and Syria. Both the UAE and Qatar are expanding their armed forces considerably, investing in missile defence systems, combat aircraft and naval vessels.

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