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French Version

Jordanian firm lands plane contract

A Jordanian company has won a tender to manufacture 16 light surveillance planes for Iraq, beating European and American competitors, its president said Thursday.

Jordan Aerospace Industries (JAI) will produce the two-seater SAMA CH 2000, and train Iraqi pilots to fly them, Muayad al-Samaree told the Al-Rai daily.

The aircraft are fitted with instrument flight rating, which enables pilots to "fly blind." Iraq's air force will use them, among other things, to prevent sabotage at key installations, he said.

JAI, a private company, unveiled its first SAMA CH 2000 at the Dubai air show in December, becoming the first Arab firm to manufacture, assemble and service light aircraft in partnership with Canadian company Zenair.

The firm builds the body of the planes in Jordan, and imports the engines from Zenair facilities in Canada and the U.S.

JAI is expected to earn $12 million from the deal.

At the end of July, Jordan handed over to Iraq two light reconnaissance aircraft to be used for border surveillance.

The aircraft, SB7L-360 Seeker reconnaissance planes, are Australian-made and were assembled in Jordan by Seabir, a joint Jordanian-Australian venture set up in July 2003 that also won a contract to train 15 Iraqi pilots and technicians.

Amman,04October2004
Redaction
The Daily Star


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