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Arms Trade News – April 6, 2011

April 6, 2011
Middle East / U.S.-Americas / Europe-Russia / Africa / Asia / Global Issues

Middle East

North Korean small arms, rockets, and anti-aircraft guns identified in Libya

Wall Street Journal/Korea Realtime, March 30, Spotted: NK Arms in Libya

Libyan rebels discovered arms produced in North Korea after taking government positions. In some cases, arms were hidden in crates marked “bulldozer parts”. UN Security Resolution 1874 from 2009 bars the export from North Korea of all arms and calls on member states not to procure items from the isolated state.

Libya operations a showcase for military goods

Reuters, April 4, Special Report: How Libya is a showcase in the new arms race

At least three aircraft operated by NATO forces over Libya are gaining valuable marketing credibility, having now being “battle-tested”.  The Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Saab Gripen are set to benefit from their participation in the enforcement of a no-fly zone over Libya, and are potential sales items to states looking to modernize their air forces such as India, Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait. French Horizon-class frigates and air-to-ground missiles are also being used for the first time.

SIPRI’s Wezeman suggests lessons from Libya reversal

SIPRI, March, Libya: lessons in controlling the arms trade

SIPRI Senior Researcher Pieter D. Wezeman catalogues the sales push by European and other states following Libya’s reintegration into the international community and suggests that arms sales carry the wrong message for authoritarian regimes. Referencing Iraq twenty years ago, legitimacy derived from commercial dealings negotiated despite security or human rights concerns can entrench and even embolden a state, he argues.

Dubai claims it foiled small arms smuggling attempt into Yemen

Reuters, March 24, Dubai police say foil arms smuggling to Yemen

It is unknown where or to whom the shipment, consisting of 16,000 items of weaponry worth roughly $4.35 million, was headed when it was seized in Dubai. Six people, five Arabs and one Turkish national, were arrested. Subsequent reports have described the shipment as largely containing pistols of poor craftsmanship, likely intended for use as gifts or status symbols, not actual combat.

Yemeni ammunition factory explosion kills 110

Reuters, March 28, Blasts at Yemen bullet factory kill at least 110

The looting of an ammunition factory in the town of Jaar led to a massive explosion that killed at least 110. Militants had previously been in control of the factory, but left before the explosion occurred. Reports have indicated that the factory was manned by Chinese workers who also left before fighting broke out.

U.S. aid and arms for Lebanon frozen after fall of government

Wall Street Journal, via YaLibnan, April 4, U.S. quietly halts arms delivery to Lebanon

After the fall of Saad Hariri’s pro-Western government in January, the United States has frozen aid and arms deliveries to Lebanon, prompted by fear that the next government may be dominated by Hezbollah-aligned politicians. Despite the freeze, U.S. officials still believe the Lebanese army is the most likely force for stability within the country and wishes to improve ties with that institution.

Turkey puts purchase of F-35s on hold over source code transfer block

Today’sZaman, March 24, Turkey puts F-35 order on hold over US refusal to share technology

Turkey’s plans to purchase 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft has been put on hold after disagreements emerged over whether the United States would supply software source code as part of the deal. The potential value of the deal is $16 billion, and Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül indicated that his country would be unwilling to go through with the order unless satisfactory compromise on this technology issue is reached.

Turkey stops arms shipment from Iran possibly intended for Syria

Reuters, March 31, Exclusive: Turkey says seizes illegal Iran arms shipment

An Iranian Ilyushin Il-76 cargo aircraft was found to be carrying assault rifles, machine guns, ammunition, and mortar shells when it was inspected during a stop-over at Diyarbakir Airport in Turkey. The crew of the aircraft, operated by YasAir Cargo Airlines, was released and allowed to return to Iran. UN Security Council Sanctions Committee personnel praised Turkey for cooperating with the Iran sanctions regime currently in place.

Turkish utility helicopter deal worth potentially $10 billion to be announced

DefenseNews, March 29, Turkey Will Choose utility Copter Within 6 Weeks

A contract for a first batch of 109 helicopters will eventually be awarded to either Sikorsky Aircraft of the United States or AgustaWestland of Italy. The initial deal will be worth $4 billion, but follow-on orders have the potential to increase this figure to $10 billion. Turkish Aerospace Industries and other local manufacturers are set to benefit from joint production programs for the helicopters.


Venezuela signs deal to purchase eight transport aircraft from China, March 30, Venezuela adquiere ocho aviones de transporte military de fabricación china Shannxi Y-8

The Shaanxi Y-8 aircraft are produced under a license issued by Russian manufacturer Antonov and are based on the 1960s-era model An-12 transport. The acquisition will complement Venezuela’s U.S.-provided C-130H Hercules transports that are suffering from a lack of spare parts as a result of U.S. export restrictions. The purchase is part of a pattern of increased military sales from China to Venezuela which may also include the future transfer of J-10 fighter aircraft.

Brazil providing Bolivia with unmanned aircraft for drug operations

AFP, via, March 28, Brasil facilitará aviones no tripulados para lucha antidrogas en Bolivia

Felipe Caceres, Bolivia’s Vice Minister for Social Defense, told reporters in La Paz that Brazil and Bolivia had signed an agreement to co-operate in anti-drug operations that would involve the transfer of helicopters and unmanned drones. This marks the first time that Bolivia has operated the latter category of aircraft.  Brazil fills a role that was left empty when Bolivia ended co-operation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 2008.

Chile receives first Airbus Military C295 anti-submarine patrol aircraft, April 4, La Marina de Chile recibe su primer C295 antisubmarino

The new Airbus machines are meant to replace aging Bréguet Atlantic and Lockheed P-3 Orion models. The C295 AWS is the first anti-submarine aircraft wholly produced and certified in Europe since the 1960s. In all, Chile intends to purchase three C295 variants from the Spain-based Airbus Military.

Mil Mi-35P helicopters arrive in Peru, part of $108 million package, April 4, Llegan a Perú los Mi-35P

Rosoboronexport has sent technical staff to help assemble the two Mi-35P assault helicopters that have arrived in Peru. The arms deal signed between Russia and Peru also includes the future delivery in May of six Mi-171Sh multi-role helicopters. Peru intends to use these new acquisitions against the remnants of the Shining Path insurgency in the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene Rivers.


Russian exports to stay constant at around $10 billion through 2014

The Moscow Times, March 29, Arms Sales Portfolio Remains Healthy

Driven by an Asian market wary of Chinese strengths and continued African purchases, Russia is expected to maintain arms exports at around $10 billion annually through 2014. While sales to traditional buyer China will continue to diminish, India’s military modernization plans will make up for these losses. Other key customers include Uganda and Algeria.

Serbia to get $3 billion in Russian loans for rearmament

Blic Online, March 28, Russians offer USD 3 billion credit for purchase of their jets

During a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Serbia last month, an offer to provide $10 billion in loans was made to the Serbian government, with $3 billion going towards modernization of Serbian jets and anti-air systems. According to Blic Online, a Serbian news source, the Balkan country has previously considered purchasing military aircraft from the United States, France, the European countries involved in the Eurofighter project, and Sweden.


President of Chad: Al Qaeda acquired Libyan SAMs

Now Lebanon, March 25, Al Qaeda snatched missiles in Libya, Chad president says

President Idriss Déby Itno stated he was “100 percent sure” that the regional off-shoot of the terrorist group had stolen missiles from a Libyan stockpile during the recent uprising, in an interview with Jeune Afrique. In addition, Déby claimed that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) had played an active role in instigating the uprising against the government of Moammar Gaddafi.

South African arms-maker Denel pushed for R6 billion ($900 billion) deal to Libya

Mail and Guardian Online, April 1, SA govt’s R6bn Libya arms push

Denel, a wholly state-owned corporation, was prepared to sell artillery systems, missiles, grenade launchers and anti-material rifles to the Libyan state before the recent uprising derailed the potential deal. An internal memo describes a Denel sales mission to Libya in April 2010 that resulted in “close to a done-deal” according to the Mail and Guardian, although it appears only one contract was actually signed. The Department of Defence, however, continues to deny that it approved a sales deal to Libya.


Rafael in bid to sell India anti-tank missiles

Defense News, via Globes, March 24, Rafael in $1b Indian anti-tank missile deal

India has agreed to purchase 321 ‘Spike’ anti-tank missiles from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel. The contract stipulates that some missiles will be put together in India while others will be received in completed form. Other potential suppliers including General Dynamics, Raytheon, Rosoboronexport, and Pan-European MBDA balked at the technology transfer requirements.

Indian Ministry presses for higher limit to FDI in defense

Defense News, March 28, Move Would Let Foreign Firms Invest More in India

The Commerce Ministry has again pressed Defence Minister A.K. Anthony to consider raising the Foreign Direct Investment cap on foreign firms investing in Indian defense companies. The current cap is set at 26 percent; the Commerce Ministry failed to garner enough support to raise this to 74 percent last year. The Ministry argued that raising the FDI cap would effectively balance out the $8 billion India spent on foreign arms purchases each year.

MMRCA tender delays could cost India additional $1 billion

Financial Express, April 2, IAF’s mega buy delay to cost $1 bn

As a winner of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender competition has yet to be announced, India will have to extend the validity of the commercial bids for a second time. The potential cost of such a move may reach an additional $1 billion on top of the expected $10.4 billion cost of the 126 plane tender.

Azerbaijan to produce licensed Israeli drones, March 29, Azerbaijan: Baku Aims to Become Regional Arms Dealer

Azerbaijan is planning to produce two models of Israeli-designed unmanned drones, the Orbiter-2M and the Aerostar, at the AZAD Systems Company plant near Baku. The goal is to become less reliant on outside sources for weapons systems and to be able to arm itself even without political approval from the United States, Europe, or Russia of its role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Thailand to purchase 200 Ukrainian tanks

Bangkok Post, March 26, New Ukraine tanks leave soldiers riled

Plans to purchase 200 T-92 Oplot tanks from Ukraine at a cost of 7 billion baht ($232 million) have left Thai soldiers upset. They prefer the Korean K1 alternative as a replacement for aging U.S.-made M41A3 tanks, first introduced to the Thai army in 1962. The tanks are part of a 10-year rearmament package that the Thai government recently approved. Also under consideration are two decommissioned German attack submarines.

Thailand admits to cluster munitions use in February skirmish

Cluster Munition Coalition, April 5, CMC Condemns Thai Use of Cluster Munitions in Cambodia

Two on-site inspections conducted by the Cluster Munition Coalition and the Norwegian People’s Aid had come to the conclusion that the Thai military used cluster munitions on Cambodian soil during a February skirmish over the Preah Vihear temple border dispute issue. 5000 people living in the nearby village of Sen Chey have been put at risk by unexploded bomblets from Thai “self-defence” strikes. On April 5, Thailand’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva confirmed the findings of the two reports.

Global Issues

Cluster Munitions Coalition examines CCW process weaknesses

Cluster Munition Coalition, March 29, A CCW Protocol on Cluster Munitions: Weaker Protections for Civilians

The Coalition argues against the current draft protocol to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) that has being submitted for consideration recently. The draft protocol has more loopholes and looser definitions than the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and would lead to less protections for civilians, argue the campaigners. In addition, under the draft protocol states would be allowed transition periods which are unnecessarily lengthy.


Short explanations are provided to assist recipients of this letter and do not represent the news source nor have they been fact-checked for accuracy.

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