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Wednesday, January 19, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

GAO: Gulf states received U.S. funds to procure non-U.S. platforms

WASHINGTON — Congress has determined that the United States financed Gulf Arab procurement of non-American combat platforms.


The fiscal watchdog of Congress has asserted that Washington was pumping money to Gulf Cooperation Council states in support of non-U.S. combat platforms and other military equipment. In a report by the General Accountability Office, one GCC state was given millions of dollars to maintain its new fleet of European-origin helicopters.

The GAO report said Oman received $3 million for the maintenance of its Super Lynx-300 multi-role helicopter fleet, Middle East Newsline reported. The Super Lynx was ordered by Oman from Europe's NH Industries, but Washington provided the maintenance funding in 2005.

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The report, titled "U.S. Agencies Need to Improve Licensing Data and to Document Reviews of Arms Transfers for U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Goals," did not explain the U.S. financing of non-American platforms for GCC states. The administration, particularly the Defense Department, has cited arms sales as vital to the U.S. defense industry.

In all, Bahrain and Oman received $179 million in U.S. military aid from 2005 through 2009. The report said the two GCC states, which provide air base and port rights to the U.S. military, said the money was used to procure weapons.

The report said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates account for nearly 90 percent of arms procurement by GCC states. GAO cited a $6.5 billion sale of the PAC-3 missile defense system and $1.5 billion Black Hawk helicopters and $743 million AH-64A Apache helicopter sale to UAE.

GAO also tracked Saudi Arabia's procurement of 72 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft from BAE Systems. In 2009, Saudi Arabia ordered $34 million in hardware for the Eurofighter aircraft.

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