Boeing expects Middle East defence industry sales to reach $96bn in next decade

Aircraft manufacturer’s defence arm sees rising demand for its services in the region

FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil August 14, 2018. Picture taken August 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo
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The Middle East defence and security services industry is expected to grow to become a $96 billion (Dh354bn) market by 2029, according to US plane maker Boeing, which forecasts continued year-on-year growth in its regional defence business amid ongoing political tensions.

“We are seeing increased demand from the Middle East and expect this to keep growing in the years ahead, as we expand our capabilities with new platforms to serve our customers here,” Mark Ballew, director of sales and marketing for Boeing’s International Government Services division, told reporters at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) show in Abu Dhabi on Monday. No comparative figures were provided by Boeing.

The Middle East’s homeland and commercial security market is worth around $12.2bn and forecast to touch $25bn by 2022, according to a 2018 report by Frost & Sullivan.

Boeing’s security division, Boeing Defence, Space and Security, is tapping into the expanding industry and says it is witnessing particular demand for its portfolio of aircraft, technology products and other services, which include the KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tanker and the Integrator and ScanEagle3 unmanned aerial system by information communications firm Insitu, Mr Ballew said.

Meanwhile, the US-listed company plans to roll out its fighter pilot training globally after winning a contract worth up to $9.2bn from the US Air Force to deliver an advanced pilot training programme on the T-X training aircraft developed by Boeing Defence and Swedish defence firm Saab Group. This will replace current training programmes with the T-38 Talon jet.

The programme will also include simulators and ground-based teaching to train up future fighter and bomber pilots, according to Boeing.

“We expect the T-X to be a franchise programme for our defence and services businesses for much of this century,” Mr Ballew said.

“We see an opportunity to provide companion, aggressor and light fighter aircraft for military services around the world and we’re looking forward to working with the US Air Force to collaborate on sales opportunities here in the Middle East.”


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