"Most recently, the position of Saudi Arabia as principal arms purchaser
in the Persian Gulf region has been re-established," the report said. "In
the period from 2000-2003, Saudi Arabia's total arms agreements were valued
at $3.2 billion -- in current dollars -- less than the levels of the United
Arab Emirates Egypt, and Israel. For the period from 2004-2007, Saudi
Arabia's total arms agreements were $23.2 billion, making it the leading
Near East purchaser once again."
CRS said the Middle East accounted for 46.3 percent of all developing
nation arms transfer agreements from 2004 to 2007. During the period of
2000-2003, the Middle East represented 42.3 percent of military contracts by
The report said the United States has fallen sharply from its position
as the leading weapons supplier to the Middle East. During 2004-2007, CRS
said the United States accounted for 32.8 percent of military contracts to
the Middle East, down from 73.6 percent from 2000 to 2003. Since 2004,
Britain captured 27.9 percent of the Middle East market; Russia accounted
for 20.9 percent of arms transfer agreements.
"Most recently, the nations in the Near East and Asia regions have
resumed large weapons purchases in contrast with arms sales activity in the
earliest years of this report," the report said. "These major orders
continue to be made by a select few developing nations in these regions.
They have been made principally by India and China in Asia, and Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates in the Near East. These purchasing tendencies
are subject to abrupt change based on the strength of either the threat
assessments of individual states or the strength of their individual
Meanwhile, U.S. defense contractors have been investing in training and developing
several Saudi companies. The contractors have awarded maintenance and
support projects that enhanced Saudi aerospace capabilities.
Boeing has been a key contractor in enhancing Saudi defense companies.
The U.S. defense giant has awarded the Saudi company, Alsalam Aircraft Co.,
a $29 million contract to maintain the C-130 air transport fleet of the
Royal Saudi Air Force.
Under the three-year contract, Alsalam would provide programmed depot
maintenance for 50 C-130s. Executives said this would include C-130 repairs,
inspections, maintenance, modifications and repainting at Alsalam facilities
"We are honored to have this contract," Alsalam president Mohammed
Fallatah said. "Through our highly skilled work force and excellent
facilities, we will provide the kingdom of Saudi Arabia with efficient and
timely PDM support for its C-130s."
Alsalam, established in 1998, has been deemed one of Saudi Arabia's
leading defense companies. The company works with Boeing, Lockheed Martin,
Northrop Grumman and BAE systems and maintains Saudi air force F-15s, AH-64
Apache attack helicopters and the E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System
aircraft. Executives said Alsalam was also working on BAE's Tornado combat
aircraft at its facilities in Dhahran.
"Alsalam is one of the largest and most experienced maintenance, repair
and overhaul companies in the Arabian Gulf region," Boeing said on Oct. 21.