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UAE to receive German NBC vehicles this year

posted on 20/02/2007: 1579 views

Germany's Rheinmetall AG will deliver the first of 32 Fuchs nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) armoured vehicles to the UAE in mid-2007, the company said yesterday.

"The first deliveries of the Fuchs NBC will start during the middle of this year and we expect to complete delivering all the vehicles by middle of 2009," Andres Haller, Rheinmetall Vice-President - Sales, said. "Since the first Gulf war, there has been high interest from these countries for such vehicles due to the unique capabilities to handle any nuclear, biological or chemical threat," he said at the IDEX defence fair in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The deliveries will come months after the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council members, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman, said they were looking at launching a joint civil atomic programme in what analysts say could spark a regional nuclear race with Iran.

The United Nations slapped sanctions on Iran in December over a nuclear programme the West believes is aimed at building bombs. Iran says its programme is aimed at power generation. The UAE is the second country in the Gulf region to buy the NBC vehicles after Saudi Arabia, which has 32 Fuchs vehicles of which 10 are Fuchs NBCs.

Haller said talks were underway with four more Gulf states for supplies of the NBC vehicles. The UAE announced in 2005 that it had awarded Rheinmetall a Dh768 million contract for 32 NBC armoured vehicles.

Rheinmetall has so far manufactured about 300 Fuchs vehicles with Germany being the biggest customer.

Other customers include the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Norway. The Middle East's biggest arms fair opened on Sunday with hundreds of manufacturers displaying state-of-the-art weaponry to oil-rich monarchies that are keen on upgrading their armed forces. The eighth bi-annual International Defence Exhibition was first held in 1993.

A total of 862 exhibitors from 50 countries, including the United States, France, Britain, China, Italy, Turkey, Russia and South Korea, are showcasing their latest products.

The countries are seeking to reinforce their armed forces and security systems amid heightened instability in neighbouring Iraq and the international community's nuclear standoff with Iran. But no information has been disclosed about possible armament contracts which would be concluded during the five-day exhibition. (Reuters)


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