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Jordan Table of Contents


Meeting Jordan's Equipment Needs in the 1980s

When problems were encountered with supply from the United States, Jordan's preferred alternative source for weaponry has been Western Europe. Increasingly, however, Hussein has purchased weapons from the Soviet Union, which has been willing to provide weapons at low prices and on attractive credit terms. According to ACDA, the Soviet Union was the largest single source of Jordanian weapons imports between 1982 and 1986, supplying weaponry valued at US$1.1 billion. France was second, with US$825 million. The United States was third, with US$725 million, followed by Britain with US$575 million. The initial Soviet arms agreement, concluded in 1981, was for US$360 million--partially underwritten by Iraq--and covering SA-8 vehicle-mounted SAMs and air defense artillery systems. This agreement was followed in 1984 by a further purchase of US$300 million worth of SAMs and in 1985 by additional contracts for unspecified quantities of equipment, including the SA-13 low-altitude SAM and the SA-14 shoulder-fired SAM (regarded as a substitute for the Stinger, which Hussein had been unable to obtain from the United States).

France has actively promoted sales of military equipment to Jordan since the 1970s. In addition to the Mirage F-1, it has supplied Alouette helicopters and air-to-air missiles. Since 1980, France has sold considerable quantities of munitions and artillery to Jordan and in 1988 won a major aircraft contract to supply the Mirage 2000 and to upgrade Mirage F-1s in Jordan's existing inventory.

Significant purchases from Britain included the Chieftain and Centurion tanks, plus Bulldog trainer aircraft. In 1985 a government-subsidized credit of US$350 million was extended by a consortium of British banks for Jordanian purchases of ammunition, light transport, communications, avionics, and other equipment. In 1987 Spain for the first time became a substantial supplier, receiving a Jordanian contract estimated at about US$90 million for twenty aircraft, including transports and jet trainers.

Data as of December 1989