Tim Ripley/DUBAI

British Aerospace is still hoping to sell more Hawk trainers to the United Arab Emirates in spite of speculation that the Germans have swung a deal to provide the Gulf country with Dassault Alpha Jets.

Jerry Wooding, BAe's managing director for Middle East and Latin America, says that no matter what the decision of the UAE over the Alpha Jets, it was the strategic intent of the company to be involved in the overall modernisation and upgrading of the UAE air force's flying training infrastructure.

"We would like to provide the UAE with an overall training support package," says Wooding. "If the UAE decides to take the Alpha Jet we will support their decision."

The UAE's "huge" requirement to train new fighter pilots means there are still opportunities for more Hawk sales, says Wooding.


BAe has already sold 34 Hawks, 17 Mk 63s and 17 Mk 102s, to the UAE air force. More could be provided to help them deal with a looming "bottleneck" in their pilot training programme because of the country's imminent purchase of new top range fighters, including scores of Dassault Mirage 2000s and Lockheed Martin F-16s. "There is a market opportunity for more Hawks ­ we are optimistic," says Wooding.

It now appears that the German Green Party is asking for the Alpha Jet deal to be re-considered. The party, which is a member of the German ruling coalition, is worried about the ground attack capabilities of the aircraft being offered to the UAE.

It has requested that the German Federal Security Commission, which approves all arms exports, look again at the offer to the UAE. "The Greens thought these were trainers not attack aircraft and are upset," says one source close to the deal.

Source: Flight Daily News