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Wed 31 Oct 2007 12:44 AM

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UAE snubs UK training jets

BAE systems dropped from $1bn tender, opening door for first export order from Italy or South Korea.

Britain's BAE Systems said on Tuesday it had been dropped from a $1 billion tender for training jets for the UAE, opening the door for a first export order for new jets from Italy or South Korea.

"BAE Systems is disappointed to learn that the Hawk [trainer jet] has not been successful in the competition to meet the UAE Air Force and Air Defence's fast jet training requirements," a spokesman for Europe's biggest defence company said.

The UAE is expected to buy at least 40 jets worth about $1 billion and more with training and support, industry sources said.

Italy's Alenia Aer Macchi, a unit of Finmeccanica, is offering the twin-engined M-346 trainer jet while the T-50 built by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) is a derivative of the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The UAE Air Force flies F-16s as well as French Mirage 2000 combat jets.

Its current trainer fleet includes older versions of the BAE Hawk trainer.

BAE shares were down 1.06% at 490-3/4 pence to lag London's FTSE 100 index which was off 0.66% geas of 1248 GMT.

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