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EDITIONS
Monday, 22 July, 2002, 07:37 GMT 08:37 UK
Air show offers few weapon deals
Eurofighter Typhoon
Eurofighter will hold a "ceremony" for the Typhoon
Massive increases in defence spending by the US and other countries around the world after 11 September are unlikely to translated into defence orders at the Farnborough Air Show.

The chances of anyone buying a plane, helicopter or missile after sharing a couple of drinks with a weapons maker followed by a spot of window shopping are remote.

Boeing F/A-18-E/F Super Hornet
Malaysia could buy the new Super Hornet
"You're not going to get people opening their cheque books or handing over money just because they've seen something at Farnborough", said a spokesman for BAE Systems, Britain's biggest defence contractor.

"It's more of a showcase for the media, the industry, the customers and the public."

As a publicity vehicle for the arms industry, Farnborough is used to attract maximum exposure to deals that have often been years in the making.

Eurofighter "ceremony"

That is exactly what the Eurofighter consortium - EADS, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica - will be hoping for when they hold a naming ceremony for the production model of the jet fighter.

Some analysts had been expecting the first planes to be handed over to partner-countries Britain, Italy, Germany and Spain, but that now will not happen until later this year.


At recent shows, the Israeli's have been exhibiting enough kit to retake Hebron several times over and there hasn't been much fuss

Francis Tusa
editor, Defence Analysis
"They're just going to rename Eurofighter as the Typhoon, which is what it has been called for years anyway," said Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis.

"The name's sufficiently war-like and sounds pretty much the same in all languages."

Whatever the outcome, the makers of Eurofighter will come to Farnborough with their first scalp, an export order from Austria for 24 planes valued at $1.78bn secured earlier in July.

BAE is also hoping for an announcement from the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) for more Hawk trainers, which it will need to train up pilots for the Eurofighter.

Outstanding orders

"Theoretically were supposed to see the formal launch of the A400M programme launch, but every air show they promise this, but so far we've seen nothing," said Mr Tusa of the long delayed Airbus military transport plane.

Westland Augusta Super Lynx 300
Super Lynx 300 will be launched at Farnborough
The German government still has to commit to the A400M project before it can proceed, and with defence minister Rudolf Scharping fired by Chancellor Schroeder last week, the project could be further delayed.

Meanwhile, Boeing could walk away with its first export order for the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, with Malaysia reportedly close to signing a deal.

Malaysia's defence minister is already attending the show as launch customer for the Augusta Westland Super Lynx 300, a production model of which will be on display for the first time.

There are a number of other big jet fighter orders are still outstanding from Poland, Czech Republic, and Brazil but they are unlikely to move on during the air show.

Controversial exhibitors

Despite the controversy of British arms exporters supplying parts for F-16s jets destined for Israel, that country's manufacturers will have some of their weapons on display.

Sukhoi Su-25KM Scorpion
Israel will display its upgrade of the Su-25
Israel's Elbit Systems, a major maker of all types of military hardware, will debut an upgraded Sukhoi attack aircraft, the Su-25KM Scorpion.

"At Farnborough there'll be the usual outcry," said Mr Tusa.

"But at recent defence shows, the Israeli's have been exhibiting enough kit to retake Hebron several times over and there hasn't been much fuss."

Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) plan some non-violent protests at Farnborough to draw attention to the issue of arms sales.

"We will be highlighting companies, like BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, that are engaging militarily with countries where there are questionable human rights records," a CAAT spokesman said.


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02 Jul 02 | Business
22 Apr 02 | Business
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14 Mar 02 | Business
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