More drones for the Middle East

Posted on by on July 8th, 2013 | Comments Off

The Middle East is currently the largest buyer of drones. And for two reasons. Firstly as they have the cash. Secondly as tensions are heating up in the region. Growing demand supported by strong intent and investment capability is expanding the market for military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Middle East. The region is already considered a lucrative market for defense. UAV development efforts by some Middle East nations coupled with imports from the U.S. will strongly bolster market expansion. Currently, the U.S. and Israel are the top UAV exporters globally. Israel’s lack of military ties with Arab nations due to historic conflicts means that Middle East countries have had no option but to procure UAVs from the United States. However, other countries are achieving significant success in UAV technology and may soon be able to export to the Middle East. Regional interest and expertise in the domain is rising fast as well. A key market driver is the fear of spreading regional unrest. UAVs can offer smaller states a way to expand their strength beyond traditional capabilities. The lack of UAV capability in the larger Middle East states significantly influences regional power dynamics. For instance, the Hezbollah movement recently acknowledged its use of UAVs against Israel. Gulf Arab states are alarmed at the civil war in Syria and want to ensure that popular uprisings in North Africa do not spread to the Gulf. They are also concerned about Iran’s nuclear program. As a result, every large country in the region understands the need to acquire UAVs. “Among the rich and politically stable Gulf nations, UAE is more focused on boosting its UAV capability,” noted Frost & Sullivan Aerospace & Defense Senior Analyst Mahendran Arjunraja. “UAVs displayed at the country’s International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) also managed to generate a lot of interest from Saudi Arabia and Oman. Nonetheless, efforts at indigenous capability will take some time to materialize and until then, Middle East nations will have to depend on foreign equipment.”

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