Instability and unpredictability seem to be the only constants in the Middle East these days. Regimes change, power and attitudes shift, and it may be that even traditionally conservative operations (such as air forces) show signs of change and diversification – away from traditional systems and suppliers.
The Iraqi government has recently signed a $1 billion contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) for 24 T-50 advanced trainer and low-class fighter jet aircraft, including pilot training. Nouri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, represented the Iraqi side, signaling the importance his country assigns to this deal.
About a month before the signing of the Iraqi-Korean deal, the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) announced an agreement with Aviation Australia to receive training for RSAF technicians at Aviation Australia’s Brisbane campus. The technicians will undertake an aviation English language program prior to their technical training, and will complete either a B1.1 mechanical or a B2 avionics course.
In November 2013, an agreement was signed between the Egyptian Air Force and Sofema, a French aerospace and defense supplier, to provide tires for American-made F-16s. The Egyptian air force currently operates more than 220 F-16 fighters.
Despite, or maybe because of, the region’s almost endemic instability, the Middle Eastern Air Power market is growing consistently, and will top $120 billion (cumulative) between 2014 and 2018.
Learn more about Middle East Air Power at: The Future of Air Power in the Middle East – Markets and Technologies Outlook – 2013-2018
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