A new report by IHS Markit says defense budgets in the Middle East will start to increase in 2017 driven by the region’s plans to ramp up acquisition of new military platforms and capabilities in support of regional operations.
IHS Jane’s predicts a 2 to 3 percent rise in Middle East defense budget by 2018 and expects defense spending in Middle East and North Africa regions to climb to nearly $180 billion by 2020, IHS Markit said Friday.
Saudi Arabia landed the fourth spot in terms of worldwide defense spending and is the top spender on defense platforms in the Middle East, followed by United Arab Emirates and Iran.
“The Saudi defense budget will return to growth in 2017 and we’re likely to see that trend continue going forward as the country seeks to maintain its position as the region’s preeminent military power,” said Craig Caffrey, principal analyst for defense budgets at IHS Jane’s.
Caffrey noted that IHS expects Middle East to increase investments in combat aircraft and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms in the short-term and raise spending on naval systems in the long run.
“Other than low oil prices and the threat from the Islamic State, the re-emergence of Iran following years of sanctions is an issue that could impact defense spending in the region,” Caffrey added.