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UAE 'keen on early warning plane'

posted on 21/02/2007: 1990 views

The UAE is seeking to order several units of Lockheed Martin's P3 early warning aircraft, according to company officials. "The UAE is absolutely interested in ordering P3s, but until a country is committed to a contract we cannot reveal anything," Robert S. Nasby, Middle East, Africa and Europe regional director told Gulf News yesterday.

With the Awacs out of production since 1991, other reliable alternatives are proving to be relatively expensive. "The only early warning aircraft that is still in production in the US is the Northrop E2C, which is quite expensive," he said.

Lockheed Martin has produced about 400 of the P3, and the aircraft is still receiving strong demand. "We have built 10 units of this aircraft for the US border and US Customs, and we are committed to maintaining this aircraft and its mission system for a decade to come," Nasby said.

On another front, Lockheed's Thaad (Terminal High Altitude Aerial Defence system), which has been in development since 2000, was awarded a production contract last December for the first two units worth US$619 million by the Missile Defence Agency, to be delivered to the US army by 2009.

"For the Gulf region, the US army has already indicated that it would entertain Foreign Military Sales of Thaad, but this will not be possible until the system is installed first in the US army in 2009-10," said Shirley P. Gray-Lewis, Lockheed's Business Development Director.

"The system is ideal for the region as it defeats short, medium and many of the intermediate range systems, at high medium and high altitudes of the endo-atmosphere, and lower altitudes of the exo-atmosphere," Gray-Lewis said. (Gulf News)


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