The Economist (UK): battle for the middle East arms market is heating up

the Flow of foreign arms to the Arabian Peninsula, in fact, began 150 years ago. When European armies had adopted breech loaded rifles, then accumulated in the warehouses of the obsolete weapons were unnecessary. The conflict between Arab tribes was a ready market for obsolete weapons. The combination of chronic instability of the region and the rich oil reserves continue to fuel arms sales. A large part of arms supplies still comes from the West. However, the shifting Sands of geopolitics freed for other manufacturers.

In November last year at an Airshow in Dubai Victor hoards of Rostec, the state company dealing with export of products of Russian defense enterprises, in conversation with the correspondent of the magazine “the Economist” noted that the Russian arms exports to the middle East reached its peak and amounted to 13.7 billion dollars in 2018. With a frankness not typical of his industry, Mr. Hoards attributed it to Russia’s willingness to sell the most weapons to most people.

In fact, Europeans and Americans may experience doubts when we are talking about the direction of certain weapons in those places that have a mixed record in human rights. The war in Syria, according to Mr. Kladov, provided the opportunity “to demonstrate” Russian weapons. Similar situation with Chinese firms — they have no constraints and try to take the place for themselves. And the Middle East are very eager to create their own defense industry. The battle for the fastest growing arms market, apparently, starts to flare up.

war Powers

a Major Western defense firms that rely heavily on their domestic markets and racesread it is there to secure a sale and profit. The export is less than one-third of revenue for the company “Lockheed Martin” (Lockheed Martin), the largest manufacturer of weapons. However, the global export market is considerable and getting bigger. The Stockholm international Institute for peace studies (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute — SIPRI) estimated its size in 2018 at $ 100 billion. Get overseas profits can mitigate the reduction in domestic defense budget, and also helps to carry out huge investments required for the implementation of large projects.The context ofAmerican Osprey tiltrotor MV-22Shūkan Gendai: the US has serious problems with military equipment?Shūkan Gendai13.02.2020 AINOnline: first flight of the upgraded “White Swan”Aviation International News07.02.2020

a Growing proportion of these revenues comes from the Middle East. In the period from 2014 to 2018, the region received a third of the world’s arms exports, having conceded on this indicator only the Asia-Pacific region (data from SIPRI). Middle East countries are imported during the specified period by 87% more than the preceding five years. In 2018, Saudi Arabia proudly announced that spent $ 68 billion on military equipment, and it costs more than any other country, except America and China. The United Arab Emirates was in seventh place in the period from 2014 to 2018, and Qatar and Oman, a small state, included this indicator in the top twenty.

large-Scale market of arms manufacturers of America (on its domestic market accounting for 36% GLobalnih in defense spending) has a dominant position in the industry. When you consider the volume of sales, the 20 largest defense firms, only 8 are not American. The export of American industry in this area in the period from 2014 to 2018, amounted to 36% of global exports (data from SIPRI). The Middle East accounted for more than half of American exports in this period, as well as 60% British, 44% of French and 25% German. In 2018 the middle East has provided 3.6 billion or 7% of the profits of the company “Lockheed Martin”. Firm “Raytheon” (Raytheon), fourth in the list of largest arms manufacturers, 15% of its products sold in the region (including North Africa), and in monetary terms, the supplies amounted to about $ 4 billion.

Most of the money the middle East is spending on the air force. Buying, equipping weapons and maintenance of military fighters represent a costly affair, and in this area in the past decade accounted for about 2/3 of global exports. Saudi Arabia ranks eighth in the world in the number of combat aircraft. In 2011 a contract was signed for the purchase of 84 new F-16 fighters and the modernization of 70 existing aircraft, and its total cost is $ 24 billion. These money will be the Boeing company and its suppliers, including the “Raytheon” and the British firm BAE Systems. In 2007, the firm sold this desert Kingdom with 72 fighter “Typhoon” (Typhoon) as part of the transaction, the volume of which amounted to, say, about $ 7 billion (British firm would like to extend the existing contract). In addition, Saudi Arabia bought ballistic missile complexes in the companies “Lockheed Martin” and “Raytheon”.

However, the EUfive things that American firms do not want to — or can not — sell. International agreements in the field of armaments, to which the United States prohibits its signatories from exporting ballistic missiles, as well as certain types of cruise missiles and armed drones. China, which is not a party to those agreements, does not face such restrictions. Once Beijing was limited to small arms of the Communist revolutionary movement, and today is one of the world’s largest arms suppliers.

Flying dragon

strategic rivals Such as India (world’s second largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia) will not touch the Chinese products. However, Chinese arms manufacturers are making incursions in Africa and the middle East, especially in the field of combat drones. Although Chinese drones, apparently, are not as advanced as us, they can be equally effective in 2018, the United Arab Emirates has used drone Chinese production to eliminate the leader of the rebels-Houthis in neighboring Yemen, where they are fighting with the rebels in the part of the Saudi-led coalition. And are Chinese drones four times cheaper.Related articlesMiG-29TNI: how the US bought Soviet istrebitelya National Interest10.02.2020 Forbes: Russian nuclear underwater drones are changing the rules of the game?Forbes06.02.2020

Peter Navarro (Peter Navarro), Advisor to the President of Donald trump on trade, complained that the drone Wing Loong II, produced by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, is clearly a copy of the drone Predator us company General Atomics. Drones Rainbow ch-4, developed by Chinese firm, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, very similar to the smaller drone Reaper General Atomics. Mr. trump has tried to remove restrictions on the export of certain American models. In any case, such deals, according to Peter Wezeman (Pieter Wezeman) from SIPRI, enable China to establish relations in the region and pave the way to sales in the future other types of weapons. Qatar already has the ballistic missiles of Chinese production.

Russia, where domestic sales are declining in 2016, also wants to have more buyers in the middle East. As in the case with Chinese models, her weapon is much cheaper, and, besides, it is offered without any conditions. Although many Russian can not be compared with the best European or American samples, “they are good enough”, according to one source, of direct relevance to this area.

Russian companies are yet to make an attempt to break into the lucrative market of the Persian Gulf. At the fair in Dubai, the friendly Mr. Hoards seems to have been very interested in the promotion of non-military goods, such as storage of wine made from applied in the military sector, materials, or boats on underwater wings, produced by concern “Kalashnikov”. However, the Russians put more lethal goods to Egypt, which was temporarily deprived of supplies from the United States after the military coup in 2013, as well as Syria and Iraq. According to the Russian government, Moscow is negotiating the sale of fighter jets su-35 to the United Arab Emirates (although the pilots of Emirates probably prefer to have a more moderns F-35 and maybe will get them). The Saudis are negotiating the purchase of anti-aircraft missile systems s-400, produced by Russian company “Almaz-Antey”. America will not like it if the Saudi Kingdom will turn to Russia for this reason. When Turkey (NATO ally) has agreed to acquire the s-400, America responded by refusing to sell Ankara, the F-35.

Apparently, Chinese and Russian firms intend to take advantage of embargo on supply of weapons, some countries of Northern Europe has imposed on Saudi Arabia due to her methods of warfare in Yemen, but also because of the murder of a journalist-dissident. Germany has banned the supply to Saudi Arabia of weapons produced in the country, developed with the participation of German companies or with German components. The canadian government is under pressure domestically, as he is required to withdraw from the contract in the amount of $ 11 billion on the delivery to Saudi Arabia armored cars produced by the company “General dynamics” (General Dynamics). Britain has suspended the issuance of new licenses for the sale of equipment, which is led by Saudi Arabia, the Coalition can use in Yemen. Perhaps this will affect the transaction of the company BAE in the amount of 5 billion pounds ($6.5 billion) for the sale of an additional batch of fighters “Typhoon”.

a New threat to the dominance of the West may come on the part of importers. Major defense contracts are usually associated with the formation of joint ventures with local companies. According to Lucy Bero-Sudra (Lucie Béraud-Sudreau) from the International Institute for strategic studies (International Institute for Strategic Studies), it allows consumers themselves to develop armaments. Australia, Pakistan, South Korea and Turkey — all of them created from scratch its defense industry, experts stress consulting firm Strategy&, and partly this is due to the compensation, but also as a result of policies aimed at assisting local producers.

On show in Dubai the United Arab Emirates has introduced Edge, a consortium of 25 defense firms. Saudi Arabian Military Industries, another national group was formed in 2017. The Saudis want to localize half of its spending on weapons by 2030 — from 2% in 2017. They are bringing in foreign managers and experts. China has built a plant for the production of drones, and the Saudi Arabian Military Industries controlled by the Germans. It will take some time before local companies will be able to compete with Western giants. However, the days when the West could sell to the sheikhs of obsolete muskets, will not return.

the new York times contain estimates of the solely foreign media and do not reflect the views of the editorial Board of the new York times.