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Monday, November 15, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel, India, UAE are top fight-jet customers

LONDON — India, Israel and the United Arab Emirates have been cited as the largest importers of fighter-jets in the world.


The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that India, the UAE and Israel have led the pack in fighter-jet imports over the last five years. In a report released on Nov. 10, the institute said the three countries accounted for almost one-third of all transfers of combat aircraft.

"India, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the largest importers of combat aircraft for the period 2005-2009, as well as many other importers of combat aircraft lie in regions of serious international tensions," SIPRI said.

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The report pointed out that India, Israel and the UAE were all located in areas of high tension. Both India and Israel have been deemed nuclear states.

"Another dimension to be aware of is that seven of the eight states with nuclear weapons include combat aircraft among the systems for delivering these weapons, something not often discussed when exporting countries present sales of combat aircraft as major business opportunities," author Siemon Wezeman said.

The report said combat aircraft ordered by India, Israel and the UAE comprised the lion's share of their weapons imports from 2005 through 2009. Both Israel and the UAE have been developing a fleet of F-16 multi-role fighters while India was focusing on Russian-origin platforms.

"While combat aircraft are often presented as one of the most important weapons needed for defense, these same aircraft give countries possessing them the potential to easily and with little warning strike deep into neighboring countries," Wezeman said.

Russia and the United States were deemed the largest suppliers of combat aircraft and all major conventional weapons. The report said Moscow and Washington supplied two-thirds of all combat aircraft deliveries from 2005 through 2009.

The report said the heavy combat aircraft procurement by India, Israel and the UAE would shape their militaries for years to come. Advanced combat aircraft cost more than $30 million and have been the focus of defense marketing.

"However, the acquisition and use of combat aircraft places a heavy burden on military budgets, and the decision to acquire them will shape the direction of defense policy and doctrine for many years," SIPRI said.

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