Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/23/2012 -- BMI's latest Saudi Arabia Defence and Security Report for Q312 examines the country's strategic position in the Middle East and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future, especially in the context of the ongoing Arab Spring.
In addition, the report examines the trends witnessed in the country's current and future defence procurement, and order of battle across its armed forces. The report's general conclusion is that Saudi Arabia will continue to invest heavily in defence procurement, giving it military superiority over most of its neighbours in what will remain a volatile region; but that the long-term security outlook is less certain, given domestic political pressures that the essentially authoritarian government is unlikely to address through democratic reforms.
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The report discusses the dangers posed to Saudi Arabia by regional unrest, and in particular by sectarian strife in neighbouring Bahrain. Riyadh's support for Bahrain's Sunni royal family has led to protests in Saudi Arabia's Shi'a-dominated Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has also begun playing a leading role in providing regional backing to the Syrian opposition in a move that could have serious implications for regional geopolitics for years to come.
Robust economic growth will continue to bankroll Saudi Arabia's military establishment, with a huge US arms package first announced in 2010 and auctioned at the end of 2011 now starting to progress. Followon orders relating to the procurement of 84 Boeing F-15 Strike Eagles at the end of 2011 are outlined later in this report.
Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- BMI has reviewed the latest details relating to the key weapons package announced by the US in December 2011, with major contracts for companies including BAE Systems, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon being announced.
- The decision to manufacture all of Saudi Arabia's Eurofighter Typhoons in the UK, rather than to assemble most of the aircraft in-country, means that Riyadh's own facilities will now be dedicated to providing through-life support for the Typhoon fleet.
- A controversy surrounding a possible defence deal with Saudi Arabia led to the resignation of Sweden's defence minister. The former minister accepted that he had known about an agreement to help Saudi Arabia set up an anti-tank weapon facility, although the Saudi Defence Ministry has denied the deal's existence.
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