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UAE ammunition plant gets $272m loan

By Reuters

Abu Dhabi's Burkan Munitions Systems has received a 1 billion dirhams ($272.3 million) credit facility to expand its production lines and upgrade its ammunition testing lab, the company said on Tuesday.

The facility was arranged in November by First Gulf Bank the company said in a statement.

Burkan Munitions has supplied the United Arab Emirates's armed forces with ammunitions for "multiple uses", it said.

The ammunitions manufacturer is a joint venture founded in 2008 between Tawazun Holding LLC, an investment company established by the Offset Program Bureau, Abu Dhabi's Al Jaber Group and Germany's Rheinmetall Waffe Munition.

Saif Mohammed Al Hajri, Tawazun's chief executive, said the company was planning to export ammunitions ranging from bullets to tank shells and bombs used by warplanes to neighbouring Gulf states and other countries in the region.

The UAE is developing an indigenous defense industry to supply its armed forces, involved an aggressive modernisation plan that mostly include its naval and air forces.

As fear of conflict between Iran and the United States and Israel grows, the oil-exporter is expected to press on with its armament plans.

The UAE made arms deals worth $14.2 billion between 2006 and 2009, according to a US Congress released last year.

The country is also expected to spend as much as $17 billion in coming years to buy an advanced missile defence system and fighter planes.

Abu Dhabi will host in February the two-yearly International Defence Exhibition and Conference, or IDEX, during which major deals are expected to be announced.