By Brenda Goh
WARTON, England, June 11 (Reuters) - Sales of combat
aircraft in the Middle East and Asia will more than compensate
for cutbacks in U.S. and European spending, Britain's BAE
Systems forecast on Tuesday.
Europe's largest defence contractor said international
markets outside its U.S. and European heartlands would grow to
account for around half of turnover at its military air and
information unit by 2016, up from around a quarter now.
"This is a prudent view," Peter Anstiss, the division's
business development director, said at a briefing on Tuesday in
Warton, northwest England.
"Very clearly, the international market could more than
compensate for the reductions in the U.S. and UK market,"
The overseas market was worth about 90 billion pounds ($140
billion), with potential sales of 900 combat jets, through to
2020, he added.
BAE's aircraft include the four nation-backed Eurofighter
Typhoon, which it is developing in a consortium with European
aerospace group EADS and Italy's Finmeccanica
The military air and information unit falls under BAE's
Platforms & Services (UK) arm, which contributed the most to its
revenue in 2012. Overseas sales are one of BAE's top priorities
to boost growth after its attempt to merge with Airbus-owner
EADS failed last year and as Washington and European governments
rein in defence spending.
Saudi Arabia and Oman have so far signed up to buy Typhoon
jets and the plane is also vying for deals in countries such as
Malaysia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.
South Korea is likely to decide in the next two months which
aircraft it will choose when it places an order for 36 jets,
Anstiss said. The Typhoon is competing against Boeing's
F-15 and Lockheed Martin's F-35 fighter jet.
Countries in the Gulf region have the potential to purchase
150 more Typhoon jets, Anstiss said, adding that this figure
excluded Saudi Arabia's order for 72 Typhoons and Oman's 12
In India, where the company lost a competition to supply the
country with 126 fighters to Dassault Aviation's
Rafale aircraft, BAE is waiting on the sidelines to jump back in
should the talks fall through, he said.
A decision from the Indian government with regards to a
signed deal with Dassault could come before the second quarter
of next year when the country holds elections, he said.
Countries that want to buy combat jets are also looking to
invest in training aircraft, said Steve Timms, BAE's head of
defence information, training and services. Saudi Arabia and
Oman have ordered the company's Hawk trainer.
India, for instance, which operates one of the world's
largest Hawk fleets, could place two more orders, he said. The
country has so far ordered 123 jets and is in talks to buy 20
BAE is also bidding jointly with American firms Northrop
Grumman and L-3 for a key deal to provide the United
States with 350 Hawks. The U.S. government is expected to make a
budget decision over the so-called T-X programme in 2015, Timms