India is world's largest combat aircraft buyer

Updated: 2010-11-11 09:51


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India is world's largest combat aircraft buyer

British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon moves past Indian Air Forces' Sukhoi SU-30 and Mirage 2000 fighter jets during an Indo-UK joint air force exercise at Kalaikunda airbase, about 130 km west from the eastern Indian city of Kolkata, November 2, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]

STOCKHOLM - The United States and Russia are by far the largest suppliers of combat aircraft accounting for two-thirds of all combat aircraft delivered in the period 2005-2009 while India is the largest buyers, according to a report released Wednesday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Between 2005 and 2009, the United States sold 341 fighter jets, up from 286 planes sold during the previous five-year period, while Russia sold 219 planes, down from 331, according to the report.

During the five years, a total of 50 countries bought 995 warplanes.

"India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel are by far the largest recipients of combat aircraft. Together, these three countries accounted for almost one-third of all imports of combat aircraft between 2005 and 2009," the report said.

India purchased 115, the largest buyer in the world during the period.

"While combat aircraft are often presented as one of the most important weapons needed for defense, these same aircraft give countries possessing them the potential to easily and with little warning strike deep into neighboring countries," said Siemon Wezeman, Senior Fellow with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Program and author of the study in a statement issued by SIPRI.

Wezeman pointed out that acquisitions of combat aircraft thus clearly can have a major destabilizing effect on regions.

Another dimension to be aware of is that seven of the eight states with nuclear weapons include combat aircraft among the systems for delivering these weapons, something not often discussed when exporting countries present sales of combat aircraft as major business opportunities, Wezeman noted in the statement.

The report pointed out that combat aircraft are expensive weapons which cost dozens of million dollars. Thus it leads to production of these weapons for substantial income and employment. However, the acquisition and use of these weapons place a heavy burden on military budgets and the decision to acquire them will shape the direction of defense policy for years.

SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. It provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

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