Emirates Buying 80 F-16's from Lockheed Martin

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Nando Times

(fair use blah blah posted 09:15 MST 2000/03/05)

"Emirates buying 80 F-16s from Lockheed Martin, military official says

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (March 5, 2000 9:23 a.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com)

The United Arab Emirates signed a $6.4 billion agreement Sunday ordering 80 F-16 fighters from Lockheed Martin of the United States, a senior military official said.

Lt. Col. Obaid Al-Kutbi, director of purchases for the Emirates' armed forces, said the deal was signed in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

The contract had been postponed several times. Last year, the Emirates threatened to pull out if the jets were not equipped with technology Washington considered too advanced. More recently, financial issues arose.

Under the deal, the Emirates is to spend about $3 billion to research and develop technology that is not available on F-16s flown by U.S. pilots, according to U.S. media reports.

The 80 jets are to be built in Fort Worth, Texas by Lockheed Martin. They would have agile-beam radar systems, radar-jamming devices and computerized flight controls that are more sophisticated than similar equipment now on board America's F-16s, according to Lockheed.

The Defense Department has endorsed the contract, which is being negotiated by the State Department.

The deal with the Emirates, an oil-rich Gulf nation, is being brokered by the State Department through a direct commercial sale license which must be approved by Congress.

The oil-rich Gulf countries have bought tens of billions of dollars in arms over the past decade. Middle East countries buy 40 percent of all arms sold in the world."

-- firefly (forest@calm.dot), March 05, 2000

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