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Military aircraft top international arms trade: SIPRI

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A file photo.

STOCKHOLM (BNS): A new Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report released on Wednesday says that combat aircraft account for one-third of worldwide transfers of major weapons in the past five years.

According to the report, the United States has topped the list of global arms sellers, with Israel, UAE and India purchasing the bulk of arms including fighter aircraft.

The independent think tank cautioned that increased sales of combat aircraft could have a destabilising effect in many parts of the world.

"While combat aircraft are often presented as one of the most important weapons needed for defence, these same aircraft give countries possessing them the potential to easily and with little warning strike deep into neighbouring countries," Siemon Wezeman, Senior Fellow with the SIPRI Arms Transfers Programme and author of the study, was quoted as saying in a SIPRI news release.

The report stated that, India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, the largest importers of combat aircraft for the period 2005–2009, as well as many other importers of combat aircraft lie in regions of serious international tensions.

"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," added Wezeman.

SIPRI also turned the spotlight on lucrative contracts as well as stupendous amount of cash being transacted for selling and buying the combat aircraft, saying "the more advanced aircraft cost over 30 million dollars each and often substantially more."

The report also highlighted that, Russia and the USA are by far the largest suppliers of combat aircraft (and, indeed, of all major conventional weapons). Between them they account for two-thirds of all combat aircraft delivered in the period 2005–2009.

India, the 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.

More than 50 countries -- Israel (82), Jordan (36), China (45) and Yemen (37) -- purchased a total of 995 new and second-hand fighter aircraft between 2005 and 2009.

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SIPRI  Arms  Aircraft  
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