Among GCC countries…naval investments have tended to lag behind high prestige air force acquisition programmes”
With concerns stemming from ISIL, the perennial rivalry with Iran, and distrust between each other, states belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council have been individually shoring up air defense as a priority, with spending allocated to land and naval forces as well, in that order. “…Avascent Analytics projects that the Middle East will pump more than $300 billion into defence by 2019 (and) expects the region to spend more than $55.5 billion on military aircraft and support platforms by 2019.” Saudi Arabia and the UAE lead the Gulf states in defense spending overall, demonstrating a trend of shoring up country capabilities as opposed to working together to improve the region’s joint task force, the Peninsula Shield. Regardless, these trends present business opportunities for American and European defense firms, currently facing a downturn in domestic defense spending.
MENA based contracts come with strings attached, however. Many states in the region are looking to improve their manufacturing bases, in order to diversify their economies. “Offset programmes, technology transfer, intellectual property and training and employment quotas for local staff are critical elements to any contract negotiation.” Competition from Chinese and Russian firms present further challenges.
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