The repulsion of images of violence in Egypt are considerably disturbing for civilised society of comprehend, but the crisis may have a far reaching economic impact, as the European Union has banned the sale of weapons to the African country.

Despite the financial crisis in Spain, one sector which has still been heavily funded is that of the military and weapons, but the Military Airbus factory in Seville will be getting edgy now as Spain had brokered a deal in January to sell Egypt 6 of the Casa C-295 transport aircraft, for delivery in Autumn, which has now been paralysed by the ban.

The Casa C-295 is a medium tactical transport aircraft developed in the nineties, before it was encompassed in the European aerospace giant EADS. The Spanish Air Force themselves has 13 units in service. Egypt commissioned their first C-295 in 2010, and this latest order would bring their fleet up to a total of 12 by 2014, which would have meant that there would be 121 of these aircraft flying for 17 different countries, the cost of each aircraft being 20 million euro.

Airbus closed the deal with Egypt to deliver the third batch of aircraft, as well as replacement parts, equipment, training and support, from the end of this year. On Wednesday the interministerial committee will meet to review the licenses already granted. Spanish law is very strict in terms of export of arms and dual-use material.

Their argument is that the aircraft are not used for attacking, but for troop transport and material, and can be used in maritime surveillance missions as well as medical evacuation. They are, therefore, not necessarily “weapons” and the sale should continue. There is however no civilian version of the aircraft.

Egypt is one of Spain´s best customers when it comes to military spending. In addition to the 50 million euro paid in 2012 for the two C-295´s, domestic enterprises exported materials worth around 42 million euro in the same year, with the Spanish government having approved a total of 46 licenses for military export to the African country.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/40358/

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