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Saudi Arabia Signs $1.7bn Deal For Upgrade Of Patriot Missile Defense System

 Saudi Arabia has placed a $1.7 billion direct commercial sales contract
with Raytheon Company to upgrade the Kingdom’s Patriot Air and Missile
Defense System to the latest Configuration-3. The award includes
ground-system hardware, a full training package and support equipment
upgrades.

The announcement came Tuesday at the Paris Air Show where military and
commercial deals are done for both military and civilian aircraft and
technology.

“Raytheon is honored to provide the most technologically advanced air
and missile defense system in the world to Saudi Arabia,” said Tom
Kennedy, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). “We are
pleased that, with this contract, they have shown further confidence in
Raytheon and the superior air and missile defense capabilities of the
Patriot system.”

Raytheon first supplied the combat-proven Patriot system to Saudi Arabia
in the 1990s to protect the nation’s critical assets. Subject to
customary US regulatory approvals, work under this contract will be
performed by Raytheon at the Integrated Air Defense Center in Andover,
Massachusetts, and in Saudi Arabia. The newly redesigned Patriot
protects against a full range of advanced threats, including aircraft,
tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and UAVs.

The bi-annual Paris Air Show opened on Monday at Le Bourget with two
industry giants Boeing and Airbus announcing a combined $20 billion of
orders. Airbus, owned by European high-tech giant EADS, with its Asian
orders for its new fuel-efficient A320neo accounted for 142 firm orders
worth $15.1 billion.

Boeing started well, selling 22 planes for $3.435 billion with US
leasing firms ALC and GECAS updating their fleets and the fast-growing
Gulf carriers Qatar and Saudi Arabian Airlines in the mix.

Jim Albaugh, chief of Boeing’s commercial aircraft operations, said the
market was coming back strongly and observed that smaller firms from
emerging countries such as China and Brazil were starting to impact on
the market.

“Traffic is coming back in very strong fashion,” Albaugh told a
briefing, adding that the days of the Airbus-Boeing “duopoly” are over.

The market is a glittering prize for the big manufacturers. Last week
Boeing said that 33,500 planes worth $4 trillion would be needed over
the next 20 years. Embraer of Brazil, which has rocketed to be the
world’s third-largest plane maker with over 1,000 orders in just seven
years of existence, netted $1.7 billion of orders of its 70-120 seat
regional jets.

Commercial aviation seems to be dominating the show with cutbacks in
spending by governments limiting purchases. This was ironically not
entirely negative news for Raytheon, the missile and radar giant.

VP and Regional Executive for MENA Kevin Messengill said that cutbacks
in the purchase in new platforms for Raytheon’s missile and sensor
technology created a niche market.

“It is far less expensive to upgrade an aircraft’s radar and missile
systems or other systems than to replace the entire platform,” he said.

He felt that this would provide a sound revenue stream during the
downturn in the global economy and that Raytheon was precisely placed to
capitalize on the expected demand. The placement of the Saudi Arabian
order reinforced his optimistic view.

There was a distinct increase of remote controlled surveillance aircraft
and the associated radar and computer technology for surveillance and
remote strikes.

The day of the drones approaches as the balance of warfare changes from
massive set pieces between superpowers to the asymmetric nature of
insurgent threat characterized by small mobile units or even
individuals. Counter-insurgency by data gathering, analysis and
projection to forward fighting units seems to be very much on the rise.

At the other extreme, the threat of attack by Intercontinental Ballistic
Missile (ICBM) may have receded somewhat but remains a distinct
possibility as an increasing number of nations develop both space and
nuclear programs.

Tuesday should have seen the flight of the technological star attraction
of the show, the solar powered Solar Impulse that recently
circumnavigated the globe powered entirely from solar energy. The 10
a.m. flight was canceled to the disappointment of enthusiastic visitors
on a sunless morning under gray clouds.

While Impulse was earthbound, other green pleasures were however on
hand. Italian aircraft interior designer Giugiaro Design presented a
concept BMW hydrogen powered concept car. An in-line two-seater that
uses twin joysticks to steer brought together the best of Italian design
and German engineering and drew an admiring crowd of aficionados.

Source:Arab News