Armor: August 12, 2003


The Italian firm Galileo Avionica has launched a $220 million upgrade of 122 Syrian T-72 main battle tanks. Western intelligence sources said an Italian contractor has been upgrading Soviet-origin T-72 tanks for Syria's military. The $200 million contract signed by Galileo Avionica called for the upgrade of 122 T-72s. Galileo makes the TURMS-T computerized fire control system (which has been fitted to 30 Czech T-72CZs).

Galileo Avionica, owned by Finmeccanica, confirmed the 2001 deal but refused to provide details. The deal was delayed for a year under U.S. and Italian government pressure, along with financial difficulties. Galileo finally won approval for the project by arguing that it was defensive in nature and did not involve the export of lethal equipment. - Adam Geibel


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