2015a[euro][TM]s end sees usual rush for aircraft.


New York (AirGuideBusiness - Business & Industry Features) Mon, Dec 28, 2015 - The aerospace and defence industry is one of the few sectors to consistently throw up end-of-year surprises as companies look to meet or exceed previous commitments, and 2015 is no exception. The tussle between Airbus and Boeing has a history of throwing up last-minute aircraft orders, with the European planemaker last year pulling out deals for more than 450 jets in December alone to overtake its rival, an unprecedented haul seldom seen even at air shows. Overseas defence deals also often come down to the wire, and landmark contracts signed in the final days of the year can count for more than just bragging rights. Some countries' defence budgets also reset at year's end, and the lack of a final signature can push back closing by another 12 months. Big-spending Middle East nations have become increasingly important for US contractors in countering flat or declining Pentagon investment spending, and overseas deals tend to be concentrated in the fourth quarter. Last year, Raytheon finally landed a $US2.4 billion order from Qatar for its Patriot missile defence system on December 22. In 2011, the US signed a $US29.4bn deal on December 24 in Riyadh to sell 84 new Boeing-made F-15 fighters to Saudi Arabia, announcing it five days later. Within 24 hours, Lockheed Martin secured a $US2bn deal from the United Arab Emirates for its THAAD missile defence system. The focus is again on Lockheed this year, and the world's largest defence contractor remains optimistic of securing big deals from Saudi Arabia and the Pentagon. Saudi Arabia plans to spend $US11.25bn ($15.5bn) - spread out over a number of contracts - buying four of Lockheed's littoral combat ships to replace its eastern fleet in what would be one of the largest ever overseas defence orders. The sale would help counter the Pentagon's plan to reduce its...

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