Forces: March 16, 2001


Oman will increase its defense budget by 38% in 2001 compared to 2000, reaching $2.4 billion. The extra money will be used to launch a massive modernization program, buying new weapons as part of the Gulf Cooperation Council's program for local defense self-sufficiency. About $200 million will go for a new radar system to cover the entire nation, most of which is not currently covered by radar. Other planned purchases include 80 LAV (Piranha) 8x8 armored cars, upgrades for 60 Alvis Scorpion tracked recon vehicles, and Mistral-2 air defense missiles mounted on VBL 4x4 armored cars.--Stephen V Cole


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