By Stanley Carvalho
UAE awards ground equipment and radar contracts to US and Euro contractors at Abu Dhabi defence show.
US planemaker Boeing and defence consortium Euro Art were among companies awarded contracts worth a total of $817 million so far at the annual Abu Dhabi defence conference.
The deals at the show, worth 3 billion dirhams, signalled that Gulf Arab defence spending will continue despite the economic slowdown and a fall in oil prices.
While Boeing will supply spare parts and ground equipment in a deal valued at 373 million dirhams, Euro Art - a consortium of European planemaker EADS, US defence contractor Lockheed Martin, and French peer Thales - will supply the COBRA (counter battery radar) system worth 893 million dirhams.
"The economic downturn has nothing to do with IDEX (defence show). When we talk about security, each state has its own priorities. I do not think there is any impact on defence," exhibition spokesman, Obeid al-Ketbi, told reporters.
Abu Dhabi government-owned Mubadala Development Company said it signed an initial agreement to set up a military aviation maintenance centre in the emirate in a joint venture with United Technologies Corp's Sikorsky Aerospace Services unit. It did not give the value of the deal.
Thales was awarded a 157 million dirham contract to supply internal communications systems for the UAE army's Leclerc battle tanks.
Other deals expected before the exhibition ends on Thursday include the purchase of military transport aircraft from Lockheed Martin and Boeing and training jets from an Italian manufacturer, Ketbi said. (Reuters)