Procurement: March 18, 2002


Asia is poised for a weapons buying spree that should start within a year. On the shopping list are missiles of all types, missile defenses, multi-role fighters, precision-guided weapons, anything with stealth, warships, submarines, drones, integrated battlefield information systems, recon and intelligence systems, lasers, and any kind of advanced technology. The impetus for the impending buying binge is the usual one. National prestige (it's hard to attract investors if your country appears weak and likely to be pushed around). China is building up its forces at the fastest rate in history and the US has shown the willingness to take military action in (if not exactly against) many other countries. Every nation in the region can reasonably expect to face pressure from China or the US or both in the next two decades, and a couple of squadrons of multi-role fighters or a battery of anti-ship missiles could make a stronger power think twice about any rash moves.--Stephen V Cole


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