DUBAI Nov 16 Northrop Grumman Corp
hopes to expand its ties to the United Arab Emirates in coming
years, including the potential sale of its E-2D airborne early
warning radar planes, the company's new chief executive for the
UAE said on Saturday.
"There are incredible opportunities here," Douglas Raaberg,
a former senior U.S. Air Force official who joined Northrop in
2010, told Reuters in an interview after the Dubai International
Air Chiefs conference. Raaberg was named last month as
Northrop's first chief executive officer for UAE.
Raaberg said foreign officials who spoke at the conference
underscored growing international demand for unmanned vehicle
technology, cybersecurity solutions, intelligence, surveillance
and reconnaissance equipment, and logistics systems -- all areas
in which Northrop had a strong position.
Northrop, Boeing Co, Lockheed Martin and
other U.S. weapons makers are scrambling to drum up foreign
orders as the Pentagon prepares for a cut of over $1 trillion in
projected military spending in coming years.
Northrop, one of the big U.S. arms makers with the least
foreign orders, has a range of equipment and offerings in each
of the areas drawing international interest, said Raaberg.
Raaberg has held several key Air Force jobs in the region
during his 30-year military career, including heading U.S.
Central Command's air and space operations in the Middle East
and Central Asia. He will be based in Abu Dhabi.
Raaberg said his job was to help strengthen Northrop's
relations with UAE leaders and convey their military and
civilian equipment needs to top company leaders in Washington.
The Falls Church, Virginia-based weapons maker already has
close ties to the region through its work on an F-16 upgrade
program, and its support of Navy and Air Force unmanned systems
such as the high-flying Global Hawk spy plane that operate in
"The one thing we don't want to do is just come and sell
something. What we want to do is really bring the partnership
with it. That partnership will last for decades," he said.
One of the key products Northrop hopes to sell to UAE
leaders is a new airborne early warning (AEW) platform, as well
a range of unmanned vehicles and training services.
The U.S. government approved the sale of the E-2D Advanced
Hawkeye to UAE some time ago, but UAE's procurement process has
dragged on for many years.
UAE decided in 2009 to buy two Saab 340 turboprop aircraft
as an interim-solution and put off the decision for some time.
Boeing is also competing for the UAE order with a 737-based
platform that includes Northrop's multi-role electronically
scanned array radar.
Jerry Spruill, a senior Northrop executive, said Washington
years ago approved possible foreign sales of the E-2D aircraft,
which was approved for full-rate production in February.
The company also hopes to sell the system to current users
of its earlier E-2C early warning radar plane, including Japan,
Egypt, Taiwan and France.
Northrop has delivered 10 of the new E-2D Advanced Hawkeye
planes to the U.S. Navy, and is under contract for 20 more. The
U.S. government plans to buy 75 of the new ground controls in
the years ahead.
Spruill said it made sense for foreign countries to buy E-2D
planes now since added orders and increasing production for the
U.S. Navy would help lower the price of the planes.