Prospective buyers from more than 80 countries have been attending an armaments exhibition which opened near Paris in France earlier this week (19 June) On show are examples of French ground weaponry, produced by 175 nationalised or private companies.
Prospective buyers from more than 80 countries have been attending an armaments exhibition which opened near Paris in France earlier this week (19 June) On show are examples of French ground weaponry, produced by 175 nationalised or private companies. As might be expected with so much high-level defence information involved, the show is closed to the public. Only official foreign buyers, whose credentials meet the standards set by the French Government, are permitted entry.
SYNOPSIS: The exhibition runs until Saturday (23 June) at Satory, near Versailles.
The Shahine low altitude anti-aircraft system was developed specially for Saudi Arabia and the prototype, on show for the first-time at Satory, has created a lot of interest.
The new system has been developed by Thomson-CSF, an all-French company which is a world leader in electronics in the armament sector.
The main buyers for French tanks and arms for ground forces are Spain, Greece, Morocco, the Gulf States and some Latin American countries. However, France is hoping that Saudi Arabia, one of the richest importers of arms, will buy more French-made goods. Already it has ordered hundreds of tanks, and another important customer, Iraq is negotiating a big contract for tanks and missiles.
France is also aiming at markets in Malaysia and Thailand, traditionally the domains of the English and Americans - particularly now that America has began reducing its financial aid to these countries.
France ranks third in the world as an arms exporter, behind the United States and the Soviet Union. Her exports in tanks and arms for ground forces are still modest compared with her exports in military aircraft...but even so have increased tenfold in value since 1970. The Satory exhibitions, which began in 1967, have probably played their part in the increase, attracting more and more potential buyers at each successive showing.
Among the eighty countries represented at this year's exhibition are twelve Arab States..while China is one of the more notable absentees. With each delegation is a miliary expert to interpret the significance of the equipment. While any transaction is looked at from commercial and technological aspects, the final decision must also take account of the political implications.