ABU DHABI — With most of its prospective export clients on the doorstep, it's little surprise Typhoon builder Eurofighter looks as though it has chosen the IDEX defense show in Abu Dhabi to announce a deal to integrate a key new weapon into the armory of the combat jet.

British Procurement Minister Philip Dunne signaled the announcement was imminent on Saturday Feb 21 when he told a conference of senior military officers and industry leaders in Abu Dhabi that he was "looking forward to announcing further air-to-ground strike capability" for the Typhoon at IDEX.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out what the missile announcement is likely to be.

With pretty much all of the combat jet's current weapons inventory now either cleared for operations or already being integrated, MBDA's Brimstone air-to-ground missile is the stand out weapon not under contract for marrying with the Typhoon.\

The high precision missile won plaudits during operations in Afghanistan, Libya and most recently has been launched by Royal Air Force Tornado jets striking Islamic State terrorist targets in Iraq.

Fitting the new Brimstone 2 version of the missile now in series production at MBDA's UK facilities will give the Typhoon a significant capability to defeat small high speed and maneuvering targets on land or at sea.

The integration deal is an important part of the effort to upgrade Typhoon capabilities vital to keeping the combat jet in the race for exports in the Arabian Gulf region and elsewhere.

Having dragged their feet over funding several upgrade programs in the past, the British, German, Italian and Spanish governments behind the Typhoon fighter jet program have more recently ceased prevaricating so much and started stomping up the cash required to keep the fighter on a level with French, US, Swedish and other rivals.

Recently, the Paveway IV precision-guided bomb, Storm Shadow cruise missile, Meteor beyond-visual-range, air-to-air weapon, the IRIS-T short-range, air-to-air missile and the Captor E-Scan electronically scanned array radar have either become operational, or been being integrated or developed along with other enhancement efforts.

The announcement that Dunne alluded to could be part of a wider improvements package for Typhoon, which may be unveiled this week, said one industry executive here.

Typhoon jets have recently become operational with new capabilities in what is known as the Phase 1 Enhancement Package. Phase 2 enhancement work is already underway adding improvements like Storm Shadow and Meteor.

Officials from the four- nation program have talked for some time about contracting for a third phase of enhancement work, which includes amongst other things Brimstone integration.

Dunne is expected to make an announcement on Brimstone integration Sunday, the opening day of the IDEX show.

BAE Systems has already been working on an initial phase of Brimstone integration under a £5 million deal awarded by the British Ministry of Defence last year.

In December, the company showed pictures of a Typhoon fitted with six Brimstone missiles and other weapons in a full trial installation.

BAE Systems, partners in the Eurofighter consortium alongside Airbus Defence & Space and Finmeccanica, said late last year they expected the full contract award on Brimstone to take place in the first quarter of this year.

The high precision missile won plaudits during operations in Afghanistan, Libya and most recently has been launched by Royal Air Force Tornado jets striking Islamic State terrorist targets in Iraq.

Fitting the new Brimstone 2 version of the missile now in series production at MBDA's UK facilities will give the Typhoon a significant capability to defeat small high speed and maneuvering targets on land or at sea.

The dual-mode seeker weapon is already installed on Royal Air Force and Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado strike aircraft, but with the British jet due out of service no later than 2019, Brimstone's combination of lethality and low collateral damage would have been lost on piloted aircraft without the integration order.

The integration deal is an important part of the effort to upgrade Typhoon capabilities vital to keeping the combat jet in the race for exports in the Arabian Gulf region and elsewhere.

Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are all in the hunt for combat jets in competitions that which have attracted the attention of fighter makers from the US and Europe scrambling for work to maintain production lines threatened by the looming presence of Lockheed Martin's F-35.

Qatar could be the first to declare its hand. A second industry executive said a decision could come sometime in the third quarter of this year.

In the wake of France landing its first export order for Dassault's Rafale last week with an Egyptian deal for 24 aircraft, Reuters reported that the jet maker was also in the final stages of negotiations to sell 36 fighters to Qatar. The story drew a denial from the French government.