DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Textron Systems believes there are "hundreds" of wheeled vehicle sale opportunities in the Arabian Gulf that could be worth $400 million to $500 million, in sales, according to company CEO Ellen Lord — the result of a growing regional focus on border security.

"We do see many governments with interest in purchasing hundreds of tactical wheeled vehicles," Lord told Defense News Monday Nov. 9 at the Dubai Airshow. adding "I think you'll see things happen over the next 12twelve months."

Lord said there is particular interest in the company's Commando series of four-wheel-drive4X4 vehicles, which have a base model that can be configured to a number of variants, including incorporating different weapons and sensor packages.

There is also interest in the company's series of small, tactical UAVs for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance along borders, she said.

Textron is "talking to Saudis about refurbishing some of our 30-year-old vehicles which are still working very well but want upgraded power plants and some different sensor packages ... and we're also talking to the Saudis about UAVs," Lord said.

"We are talking to the Kuwaitis about tactical UAVs, also talking about wheeled vehicles as well. We see a lot of interest in Qatar for UAVs as well. Here in the UAE, wheeled vehicles are of interest. Iraq, we've been talking about vehicles as well.

"These are all hundreds of vehicles, so these are significant [potential] purchases."

While the Gulf nations are known for wanting as countries that want high-end technology, such as the latest fighters and weapons, the question of border security has been growing with the ongoing instability of the region.

Lord says the interest is being driven by nations "looking at the fact that the neighborhood is a little unstable, a little dangerous, and needing more."

"That's the thing over the last year that has been a huge focus, and now what's going on in Yemen, what's going on in Syria, is causing even more of that," she added. "But I think, really testing what's in inventory and seeing what's working and what doesn't work is also influencing decisions."

The CEO also identified China as the greatest threat to American industrial opportunities in the region, particularly in the realm of small UAVs that China can mass-produce and export more quickly than can the US.


Twitter: @AaronMehta

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

More In